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Ridgefield Man Finishes Second In Maritime Aquarium Lighthouse Contest

Brett Almstead, of Ridgefield, with daughter, Marin, with his second-place winner, “Tiki Island Lighthouse,” in The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s 14th annual “Festival of Lighthouses Contest.”
Brett Almstead, of Ridgefield, with daughter, Marin, with his second-place winner, “Tiki Island Lighthouse,” in The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk’s 14th annual “Festival of Lighthouses Contest.” Photo Credit: Maritime Aquarium

RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Ridgefield resident Brett Almstead's “fiery” Polynesian lighthouse was the second-place winner in the 14th annual “Festival of Lighthouses Contest” at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.

Almstead took home $750 for receiving the second-most votes from aquarium visitors for his entry, “Tiki Island Lighthouse.”

Almstead has entered the contest several times, taking home the fifth-place prize in 2007. His “Tiki Island Lighthouse” was a four-sided angry Polynesian godlike figure. Using a fan, reflective materials and colored lighting, Almstead created the impression of fire inside the figure’s mouth and eyes, and from atop its head.

The holiday lighthouse display was from Nov. 21 through Jan. 18 and featured 22 large model lighthouses built by local artists, students and hobbyists. The contest’s winners are chosen by aquarium visitors, who enjoy the lighthouses in the aquarium galleries and then voted for their favorite.

More than 11,500 votes were tallied in this most recent display. At a Jan. 21 ceremony at The Maritime Aquarium, five other prizes also were awarded:

  • First place ($1,500) – “Surviving the Storm” by Robert Keene of Darien.
  • Third place ($375) – “Fairy Lighthouse” by Bob Hemond of Trumbull.
  • Fourth place ($300) – “Fieldstone Tower” by Pedro Davila of White Plains, N.Y.
  • Fifth place ($225) – “North Pole Lighthouse” by Jo Stecker of Norwalk.
  • Sixth place ($150) – “Droste Point: The Lighthouse Within” by Nancy Todd of West Haven.

An additional $500 prize was awarded to Hemond, who won the “Facebook Favorite” vote conducted online.

“We congratulate the winners, and thank all 22 contestants whose creativity and efforts added a bright and festive cheer to The Maritime Aquarium through the holiday season,” said Chris Loynd, the aquarium’s marketing director. “Because of them, the real winners were the aquarium’s visitors.”

Photos of all the winners can be seen at www.flickr.com/photos/Maritimeaquarium.

Entry forms for the 2016 “Festival of Lighthouses Contest” will be available on the aquarium’s website this summer.

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