Commemorating 150 “Years of Keeping the Light On,” the Elbow Reef Lighthouse Society in conjunction with the Port Department of Abaco, Ministry of Tourism, Antiquities Monuments and Museums Corporation, Albury’s Ferry Service and Abaco Buzz spearheaded a day of festivities in celebration of the Elbow Reef Lighthouse on June 24.
The Elbow Reef Lighthouse is perhaps the most recognizable landmark on Abaco as its candy-striped structure soars 120 feet above the high-water line. Worldwide, it is the last manually operated, kerosene-fueled lighthouse, and is manned by two lighthouse keepers: Jeffrey Forbes Jr. and Elvis Parker.
As guests trickled in from a complimentary ferry service, they were greeted by a Beer Garden and Festive Food Tent; educational, historical and art booths; a Children’s Pavilion; as well as a booth for purchasing T-shirts with the 150th Lighthouse Birthday Celebration.
The ceremony was moderated by Tania Duncombe, who invited Jeffrey Forbes Jr. along with his father, Jeffrey Forbes Sr., who was a lighthouse keeper for 40 plus years, to participate in the flag raising ceremony.
Specially invited guests were Edison Key, MP for South Abaco; Alexander Flowers of the Office of the Prime Minister; and Wynsome Ferguson, Tourism’s Abaco Manager.
Many visitors stopped by to view the Artists Booth, which included: Mary Balzac; Kevin Carroll; Ritchie Eyma and Roshanne Minnis-Eyma; Laverne Maynard; Anthony “Big Mo” Morley; Theophilus and Tamara Rolle; Sharyn and Christiane Thompson; Shirley Higgs and Don Wood.
Wood had a diverse collection of sculptures and jewelry he had made from materials of wood, gold, sterling silver bronze, fiberglass and aluminum. Most impressive was a mammoth blue marlin made from cypress wood, and his Lighthouse earrings on display.
Kevin Carroll of KP Carroll Photography offered mainly scenic and aerial photographs featuring the lighthouses of Elbow Reef Lighthouse and Hole in the Wall in driftwood frames.
Nearby, Mary Balzac of Hope Town had an assortment of mainly watercolour paintings accompanied by two oil paintings. Meanwhile, Sharyn Thompson, and her daughter, Christiane, of Pasha Creations displayed watercolour paintings and decorative bags depicting shells, flowers and lighthouses.
Speaking of lighthouses, Elvis Parker, Elbow Reef Lighthouse Keeper, started his career on Great Inagua almost 20 years ago. Taking his responsibilities very seriously, he said it is important that no casualties occur while they are on watch, so they must ensure that the lighthouse is fully operational at all times.
“The lighthouse is the main attraction on Hope Town, so we will do whatever we can to keep it maintained,” Parker expressed.