It was downright balmy on Saturday when an estimated 5,000 people gathered on the grounds of the Montauk Lighthouse for the fourth annual Lighting of the Light.
Joe Gaviola, the master of ceremonies, credited the windless night to Msgr. Peter Anthony Libasci, the guest of honor and former pastor of St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church in Montauk, who will officially be named the bishop of the Diocese of Manchester, N.H., at a ceremony next Thursday.
Father Peter, as he was known in the hamlet, was chosen to flick the big red switch that turned on the 3,770 white lights that Looks Good Services used to cover the Lighthouse building, windows, and tower.
The grounds opened at 4:30 p.m., and the ceremony started an hour later. Children rolled down the hills, couples gazed out at the sea, and dogs romped through the crowd as Sarah Conway and the Revelers performed Christmas tunes.
Locals may have been scarce, perhaps deterred by the traffic, but they made up for it the following day at Christmas at the Lighthouse. Santa sat in the Lighthouse parlor listening to holiday wishes, surrounded by a Christmas tree and holiday poinsettias, while cookies, hot chocolate, and cider were served in the museum rooms.
Vehicles filled both lots and were parked out on the highway about a quarter-mile west. Bicycles wove through cars as the great exit began. East Hampton Town and state park police officers helped control the traffic.
Late at night, visitors were still standing at the gates, gaping at the splendid site that will be lit from dawn to dusk though Jan. 1.
“It was a great night,” Mr. Gaviola said.