Mini painted lighthouses add to festivities

By Sara Bruestle | Jul 25, 2012
Courtesy of: Jennifer Gregerson In addition to miniature lighthouses, this year the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Association is introducing "Flat Elliot." Above, Councilmember Jennifer Gregerson and Flat Elliott visit another notable community landmark – the Parthenon in Nashville, Tenn. – a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, built in 1897 for Tennesee's centennial. Gregerson, who is also the MLFA president, said: "I'm in Tennessee for a national league of cities policy forum meeting, discussing telecommunications tax reform and public safety broadband networks. I still have time to think about the lighthouse festival, of course! This landmark is only nine years older than Flat Elliott – since the lighthouse was built in 1906."

Be the first on your block to purchase a miniature of the Mukilteo Lighthouse in support of the 47th annual Lighthouse Festival Sept. 7-9 for your home or business.

The 32- by 42-inch plywood cutouts are hand painted by local artist Debby Tucker, and are a mini replica of the Light Station at Lighthouse Park.

The Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce teamed up with Terry Marsh of the Downtown Arlington Business Association – famous for its customized cutouts of snowmen, roosters, ducks and more seen around Arlington – for this new festival fundraiser.

“A lot of the businesses in Arlington have personalized [the cutouts] for themselves,” McCarty said. “There’s a duck in a bikini at a the tanning salon, there’s another in a Harley Davidson hat at the motorcycle shop. It’s really cute.”

“I met with Terry Marsh, and we started talking about maybe doing a lighthouse for the Lighthouse Festival. He said, ‘Sure thing.’”

The lighthouses are $100 each and may be customized by the artist for an additional fee. Add your business logo, your family in the window, or your pet out front – anyway you want it – for another $25. Proceeds go to the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival.

Tucker, of Arlington, looked up photos of the Mukilteo Lighthouse on the Internet and chose a view she knew she could paint and that represented the lighthouse well – “It is a nice clean shot of everybody’s favorite view of it, I would say.”

She drew up the pattern and sent it to Marsh for the cutouts.

“We made a prototype, and they (the Chamber) just fell in love with it,” Marsh said. “We made some changes because when you do 25-30 of them, you want to make it easy to cut out and easy to paint.”

“They came out really well. They’re pretty cool.”

Marsh cuts out the lighthouses, primes them, and puts a stand on the back of each. Tucker then paints them, step by step. She painted 26 of them all at once.

Tucker set up all the plywood lighthouses in a row inside the Arlington Co-Op and got to work.

“I just do them one step at a time,” she said. “I start with all the reds or the roofs and then move to all the white and then move to the windows.

“They kind of look funny when they get started, but all finished they’re really pretty. I love it when the windows get in – you go ‘Ah-ha! It’s a lighthouse!’”

It takes her two hours to paint one miniature, on average. She said she may paint more, if more are ordered before the festival.

“It probably took me a good week for the lighthouses because they’re more detailed than the average chicken,” Tucker said.

Tucker said she enjoyed painting a part of history, and liked it when she added in the light from the beacon of the lighthouse; they all came alive with their own “bright spark.”

“We think it will create some conversation about the festival and get people excited about the festival coming,” McCarty said. “We’re excited.”

A limited number of the lighthouses are available at the Chamber office, at 4902 76th St. S.W., Mukilteo. Call 425-347-1456 to order yours or for more information.

A map showing where all of the lighthouses are located will be available soon on the festival website.

Also: Have some fun with the new Flat Elliott contest – like a “Flat Stanley” except with a nod to Point Elliott – where you are invited to take a poster of the lighthouse with you on your summer vacation or “staycation.”

“Take a piece of home with you on your vacation, take it all over the country, take a picture and send it in,” McCarty said.

The winner of the “Most Creative Place” Flat Elliot visits will receive a $25 gift certificate to Ivar’s Mukilteo.

Email photos to, or post them to the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Association Facebook page. Download your Flat Elliott online at

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