“The community now owns the lighthouses, and so we have to now start taking care of it,” said Dr. Darren Riopelle, chairman of the Run for the Lights fundraiser on Feb. 8. “This is a great way for everyone to chip in.”
The money raised through the run not only benefits the Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy, but it will also be fun for the family, Riopelle said.
“We call it a race, but really it’s a family-friendly event where people can come out, walk a little bit, run a little bit and have fun," he said.
Run and walk participants will sign in at the Eagles Club, 20 N. Second St., at 4:30 p.m. Each participant will receive a commemorative T-shirt. The first 200 participants will receive a winter hat and a headlamp.
The race will begin at 6 p.m. Runners will start at Third Street, run down the boardwalk and through the state park, turn around and run back up the boardwalk, and end at Third Street and Washington Avenue.
Advanced registration is $25. It costs $30 to sign up on the day of the race.
After the race, participants will be eligible for discounts at four downtown restaurants. They will also be entered into a prize drawing for a fishing trip with Thunderduck Sportfishing Charters, a mo-ped rental from Sun Sports Rentals and seven-nights camping at the Grand Haven State Park during this year's Coast Guard Festival.
The Rotary Club of Grand Haven is organizing the event.
“The city just got ownership last month of the lighthouses,” said Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis, a member of both the Rotary Club and the conservancy board. “We’re working with the Lighthouse Conservancy to try to raise as much support as we can to do a renovation project.”
The first project the group hopes to do this year is strip away the lighthouses' old paint and repaint them both. It will cost around $280,000, McGinnis said.
— By Emily Anderson, Tribune intern