Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Association President Julie Martin, left, holding her granddaughter, Ariah Martin, 2, and Bashar Elali, vice president. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Association President Julie Martin, left, holding her granddaughter, Ariah Martin, 2, and Bashar Elali, vice president. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Popular Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival could use helping hands

More volunteers and sponsors are needed to keep the event from going dark after this year.

MUKILTEO — At last September’s Lighthouse Festival, there was one night of fireworks instead of the usual two. Two shuttle bus stops instead of three. And fewer portable toilets.

The 53rd year of the popular fall event still went on pretty much as usual, with more than 20,000 people coming to the waterfront for three days of fun and games.

After the party was over, the festival ended up $24,000 in the red.

That money is still owed.

There was serious talk about not having a festival this year. It has been saved — for now.

“The board has decided yes, but if we don’t get the key volunteers in place it could still be in jeopardy,” said Julie Martin, festival association president.

“We still need three more board members. A minimum of 10 more core volunteers are needed. We need strategic minds. We are reaching out for help from the community.”

The public is invited to today’s 7 p.m. meeting at the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce office, 4902 76th St. SW.

Ideas, labor and corporate sponsors are welcome.

“This is a tipping point,” Martin said. “We still have a large chunk of last year’s festival to pay off, so we’re working on coming up with some fundraisers.”

Unpaid vendors include Honey Bucket, Durham School Services, Live Sound and Stage, CORT Party Rental and Hollywood Lights.

“Most said we had until August to pay it off,” she said.

The deficit in 2017 was about $5,000. A grant from the Mukilteo lodging tax came through to pay that bill.

A shortage of volunteers and sponsors has affected other local events as well.

The Mukilteo Farmers Market is taking this summer off because there aren’t enough people to staff it. After 12 years, members of the nonprofit group that puts on Poochapalooza in Marysville cancelled the event due to lack of volunteers.

Martin said this year’s Lighthouse Festival might have some noticeable changes. The Run-A-Muk foot race and the parade in recent years cost more than the revenue generated and are among the items under review.

She hopes new people will bring ideas of how to make the festival sustainable.

Those who partake might want to pitch in, whether it’s a few hours or a few dollars.

“Friend of the Festival” memberships start at $35 and include a T-shirt. Business sponsorships are $250.

“We have lived in our house since 1987. I remember when the festival was very small,” Martin said. “As my kids grew up, I would see the parents of my kids’ school friends at the beer garden. I still see those parents at the festival. It’s fun to catch up. Those kids who grew up at the fence of the beer garden come to the beer garden now and celebrate the festival.”

Andrea Brown:; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

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