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Maine's popular 'Open Lighthouse Day' Salutes the State's maritime heritage Sept. 12

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AUGUSTA - The State of Maine's 7th Annual Open Lighthouse Day will take place on Saturday, September 12 with lighthouses open throughout the state and free entry available to visitors on this one day. The popular event, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, draws between 15,000 to 18,000 visitors annually with the unique opportunity to climb and learn about Maine's historic lights.

"Tourism attracts tens of millions of visitors to our state each year and helps to showcase our state as a terrific place to visit, study, live and invest," said Governor Paul R. LePage. "My administration is committed to supporting events and activities that promote one of our biggest and most important industries, creating jobs and providing new investment opportunities."

The largest effort of its kind organized within the United States, Open Lighthouse Day is a family activity intended to help increase awareness of Maine's maritime heritage and teach visitors about the rich history of its lighthouses and lightkeepers. All lighthouses will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., unless otherwise noted. Special packages, promotions and celebratory activities are also available in partnership with hotels and other attractions. For Lighthouse Day, all lighthouses and lighthouse tours are free. Some parking and transportation costs to lighthouses are additional.

With more coastal lighthouses than anywhere else in the nation, Maine is often referred to as "The Lighthouse State". Beginning in 1791, lighthouses were built to help navigate mariners through dangerous waters and Maine's many small islands, ledges and shoals. By the turn of the 20th Century, at least 70 lighthouses guarded Maine's seacoast, deepest rivers and even one lake. Today, 65 of these lighthouses still stand.

Over the decades, Maine's iconic lighthouses have become more than simply navigational aids. They also beckon the general public to come near and enjoy the alluring beauty, romance and history that embodies these timeless sentinels of the sea. Many of Maine's lighthouses can be seen by boat, some only with ground visitation and some are celebrated by museums or as displays within buildings.

"The public really looks forward to this event each year," said Bob Trapani, Jr., American Lighthouse Foundation executive director. "Though lighthouses are the 'stars' of Open Lighthouse Day, visitors also enjoy basking in the beauty of the Maine coast, which uniquely embraces each sentinel. You can't beat it for a fun-filled family experience!"

On Open Lighthouse Day, both Mainers and visitors planning a weekend getaway or longer vacation can check out various itineraries and participating lighthouses by going online to www.visitmaine.com to search "Lighthouse".

For comprehensive information about the 2015 participating sites and attractions and to view a map pinpointing specific locations, visithttp://www.lighthousefoundation.org/openlighthouseday.htm.

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