Real life, at it’s most sincere and sweet moments, can outduel and outlast the magic of fairy tales.

And sometimes, the real and the fantastical are meant to shine together serving as complimentary teammates to each other.

That’s the lesson Trumbull resident Bob Hemond learned at The Maritime Aquarium’s Jan. 21 ceremony, which was held in honor of those who participated 14th annual Festival of Lighthouses Contest.

Hermond, whose fairy-world lighthouse took home the third-place prize, earned $375 for receiving the third-most votes from Aquarium visitors during the holiday display, which ran from Nov. 21 to Jan. 18 and featured 22 large model lighthouses built by local artists, students and hobbyists.

The entry, titled “Fairy Lighthouse,” also won its creator an additional $500 after Hemond posted the exhibit on social media and triumphed in the “Facebook Favorite” vote that was conducted online Dec. 28-Jan. 18.

This is the first time Hemond has entered the lighthouse contest.

“Fairy Lighthouse” is a wooded fairy wonderland that Hemond created on a sturdy forked tree branch. Fairy figures — as well as butterflies, birds and flowers – populate nests, a suspended bridge, a treehouse, as well as both the shining light at the top and the fenced-in scene at the base.

The contest’s winners are chosen by Maritime Aquarium visitors, who enjoy the lighthouses in the aquarium galleries and then vote for their favorite.  More than 11,500 votes were tallied in this most recent display, which, as always, attracted a collection of widely creative works.  

The five other prizes also were awarded from the paper-ballot voting:


  •  First place ($1,500) –  “Surviving the Storm” by Robert Keene of Darien.

  •  Second place ($750) – “Tiki Island Lighthouse” by Brett Almstead of Ridgefield.

  •  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.


“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 2016-17 “Festival of Lighthouses Contest” will be available on the Aquarium’s website this summer.

For more information about exhibits, IMAX® movies, programs or other offerings at the popular Connecticut family attraction, go to www.MaritimeAquarium.org or call (203) 852-0700.