The Elbow Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society (ERLHPS) organized a weekend Symposium of Support (SOS) starting Jan 29. The first event, held at the Firefly Sunset Resort, aimed to attract attention and support for the Elbow Reef Lighthouse.
A great crowd was present for the evening with the breathtaking Sea of Abaco as the backdrop. Appetizers were served courtesy of Firefly and a wine tasting was sponsored by Jimmy’s Wine and Spirits. Tuna sashimi, olive and mozzarella bruschetta, and stuffed mushrooms were some of the tasty treats on offer. Local Jimmy’s store manager, Jerry Summer, had set up a large assortment of white and red wines on two separate tables. The well-curated selection kept the guests coming back for more samples.
At the event’s entrance, volunteers offered raffle tickets and various sponsorship possibilities to raise funds for the Society’s preservation efforts. Down on the main deck, T-shirts, caps, mugs and other items were on sale. A table displaying the auctions items enticed people to buy more tickets.
Though the crowd was diverse, people were soon socializing, recognizing friends and acquaintances as well as making new ones.
Saxophonist Rashad Reckley provided the background music throughout most of the evening. He was momentarily replaced by a trio at the guitar, comprised of Neil Aberle, lighthouse keeper Ellis Parker and Mr. Parker’s uncle. They performed a song written by Mr. Aberle titled “Keep the Light On.”
Following the performance the ERLHPS were introduced.
The core purpose of the evening was to inform people about the ongoing repairs to the Lighthouse and to bring awareness to the preservation needs and the means to achieve them. At 6:00pm a video of the Lighthouses of The Bahamas, produced by Matt McCoy with Loggerhead Productions, was presented. It was followed by the welcome address from the ERLHPS President, Lory Kenyon.
People with interest in lighthouse preservation nationally, such as Michael Patemen with the Antiquities, Monuments ad Museum Corp., international lighthouse expert Annie Potts, Kathy Fleming who had been the force behind the successful restoration of the St Augustine Lighthouse, and Alex Klahm, who is currently overseeing the local repairs, were among the guests of honour.
Kathy Fleming, whose husband’s great-grandfather was a lighthouse keeper at Hole in the Wall, made a presentation on why we should preserve lighthouses and how she went about raising enthusiasm and funds to restore the St Augustine Lighthouse.
Young Luke Prosa, son of one of the local volunteers, proudly enumerated the number of lighthouses in The Bahamas: twelve.
Then, introduced by Mrs. Potts, Mr. Klahm commented on a video of the current repairs, explaining what was being done, how and why.
The conclusion of the event was the drawing of the raffle. A larger container had to be found because so many were the tickets bought. A few happy winners went home with either a vintage bottle of rum, a cushion, a quilt or a canvas tote bag as well as several items with lighthouse motifs.
A complimentary ferry transported people back to the Marsh Harbour.