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BUILDERS NEEDED FOR THE 2011 “FESTIVAL OF LIGHTHOUSES CONTEST” AT THE MARITIME AQUARIUM AT NORWALK

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Lighthouse builders: start your minds racing. Entry forms are being accepted now for The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s 10th annual “Festival of Lighthouses Contest,” which awards an Aquarium Family Membership for each accepted entry and $3,300 in prizes, including $1,500 for first place.

“To mark our milestone 10th year for the contest, we are increasing the prize awards by 50 percent,” said Chris Loynd, the Aquarium’s marketing director.  “That’s only fitting because the effort that our lighthouse builders have put into their entries has certainly increased over the years. Many of the lighthouses are incredible works of art and craftsmanship.” The special exhibit will place 24 lighthouses throughout the aquarium during the holiday season and beyond: Nov. 12, 2011, through Jan. 16, 2012.  Aquarium visitors will follow these hand-crafted beacons through the galleries and then may cast a vote for their favorite.

The builder of the lighthouse with the most votes will receive $1,500 at an awards ceremony on Jan. 19.  Other prizes to be awarded are: $750 for second, $375 for third; $300 for fourth; $225 for fifth; and $150 for sixth. To qualify, lighthouses must be 3 to 6 feet tall and have a working light – beyond that, it’s up to the creators’ imaginations.  Previous years’ entries have been crafted out of about every material imaginable, from the expected – wood, metal, stone, papier mache, plastic and glass – to the unexpected – paper, string, sea glass, candy, furnace filters, trash and even paper clips.  (Prohibited are animal remains, including shells.) Many past entries have been modeled after real lighthouses. But others have ranged from the highly artistic to the comically imaginative to the puzzlingly abstract.

Entry forms are being accepted until Oct. 21. (The number of entries is limited, so it’s important to submit entry forms as soon as possible. After 24 entries are received, all subsequent entrants will be placed on a waiting list.)

Lighthouses must be delivered to the Aquarium between Nov. 4 & 7.

For a “Festival of Lighthouses” entry form and a copy of the Official Rules, visit www.maritimeaquarium.org or call The Maritime Aquarium at (203) 852-0700, ext. 2248.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk inspires people of all ages to appreciate Long Island Sound and protect it for future generations. A vibrant and entertaining learning environment, it achieves this goal through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

The Maritime Aquarium receives support from the State of Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism.

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Kerry Anne Ducey

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