Shelton pair win twice in Maritime Aquarium lighthouse contest

A comical Minions-themed lighthouse made by two Shelton men took home two prizes in the 15th annual “Festival of Lighthouses Contest” at The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk.

“Minion Point” by Charlie Kestler and Roy Glover, with help from Kestler’s son-in-law Connor Rieve of Bethel, won $150 for receiving the fourth-most paper-ballot votes from Aquarium visitors in the recent display, which ran from Nov. 19 to Jan. 16. The trio also received an additional $500 prize because “Minion Point” tallied the most votes in a separate “Facebook Favorite” vote conducted online Jan. 1-16.

The Aquarium’s holiday lighthouse display featured 13 large model lighthouses built by local artists, students and hobbyists. The contest’s winners were chosen by Aquarium visitors, who had the chance to enjoy the lighthouses in the Aquarium galleries and then vote for their favorite. More than 6,700 votes were tallied in this most recent display.

This is the sixth time Kestler has entered the Aquarium contest. In past years, his submissions were modeled after realistic – or even actual – lighthouses. That changed this year, as “Minion Point” depicts two yellow Minions from the “Despicable Me” animated-comedy movie series. One Minion stands on the ground holding a lighted candy cane with one hand and a candy cane-striped light post with the other hand. Standing on his head is another Minion, working to string holiday lights around the light post.

With help from Rieve and the 95-year-old Glover, Kestler made the entry using a Sonotube for the light post and beach balls wrapped in fabric for the Minions’ bodies.

At a Jan. 19 ceremony at The Maritime Aquarium, three other prizes were awarded from the paper-ballot voting:

  • first place ($1,500) – “LEG-lobe” by Nick Parker of Ridgefield.

  • second place ($750) – “Cork Island Lighthouse” by Carolina Fontes of Stratford.

  • third place ($300) – “National Lighthouse” by Jo Stecker of Norwalk.

“We congratulate the winners, and thank all the contestants whose creativity added a fun and festive cheer to The Maritime Aquarium through the holiday season,” said Tina Tison, the Aquarium’s marketing director. “Because of them, tour guests were the real winners.”
For more information about exhibits, IMAX® movies, programs or other offerings at the popular Connecticut family attraction this winter, go to or call (203) 852-0700.