A statewide event will once again shine a light on Havre de Grace's historic Concord Point Lighthouse.
Hundreds of lighthouse enthusiasts will descend on the prominent monument at the tip of the city's Promenade, which will be spotlighted during the eighth annual Lighthouse Challenge, organized by the Chesapeake Chapter of the U.S. Lighthouse Society, on Sept. 17 and 18.
Concord Point will be one stop among 10 for those who take part in the weekend-long tour of Maryland's historic lighthouses. (One of the stops is technically a lightship, not a lighthouse: the Seven Foot Knoll/Chesapeake Lightship at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.)
The event has been taking place on and off over the years, but promises to be a draw for lighthouse enthusiasts everywhere.
Chairwoman Karen Rosage said in excess of 700 visitors usually stop by Concord Point as part of the tour, and thousands take part in the challenge statewide.
"The response has been good and publicity has been pretty good," she said. Also, "a lot of people are traveling local."
The Chesapeake Chapter did not do the event last year because of volunteers' scheduling issues, she said.
Now the event is back by popular demand, "because people really loved it in the past," she said.
Rosage said she hopes the tour makes people more aware of the role lighthouses played in the state's maritime history.
"At one time, all the commerce was done over the waterways, not highways," she pointed out.
From 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Sept. 17 and 18, volunteers will be greeting participants from around the country to tour the designated lighthouses. A souvenir depicting the lightouse will be given out at each site.
At the end of the tour, those who actually visit all 10 can also receive a special "completer" souvenir.
This year's theme is "Reading Lights the Way," to encourage participants to read about lighthouse architecture, history and the dedicated keepers who were in charge of them.
Because of that, "our souvenirs are bookmarks with pictures of the lighthouses," Rosage said.
Directions for the tour are listed from Turkey Point to Fort Washington, but can be done in any order, and participants do not have to visit all the lights.
"What we encourage above all else, is that participants drive safely," the event brochure notes. "This is a driving tour to be enjoyed, not a race just to see who finishes the Challenge first."
The event will be held rain or shine, and souvenirs will be distributed while supplies last.
Visitors should keep in mind they will have to navigate the various rules and fees for the different lighthouses.
Concord Point, as locals should know, is free to visit and has bathrooms.
The lighthouses at Point Lookout, Fort Washington, Turkey Point and Hooper Strait all have fees to enter the site. Piney Point has a fee to climb the lighthouse, while Seven Foot Knoll charges to board a ship and to park.