The 70th Annual Blessing of the Fleet, St Margaret Parish - Bayou La Batre, 13790 S Wintzell Avenue, is May 4 and May 5. This fun-filled weekend will kick off on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at 10 a.m. and will wrap up on Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 4 p.m. Admission is free and the event will include Alabama Gulf seafood, traditional Vietnamese Cuisine, a Gumbo Cook-off (Saturday only), Arts & Crafts Show, Decorated Boat Contest, Boat Cruises, Bingo, activities for children and more.
The custom of the Blessing of the Fleet can be traced back to Old World European fishing communities where God was publicly acknowledged and asked for a bountiful harvest and the safety of the men at sea. Today, a Fleet Blessing ceremony, on the dock at St. Margaret, begins with a prayer by the Archbishop of the Diocese of Mobile. The Fleet Blessing Queen is crowned, then the names are read of those who perished at sea in the community. The bell is tolled for each person announced known in our community. The Archbishop of the Mobile Archdiocese and other clergy then board a boat, from the bow the ceremonial wreath is tossed into the bayou waters. After this, decorated boats of all kinds form a procession behind the boat carrying the Archbishop, and parade to the mouth of the bayou and back, as the Archbishop blesses their boats and docked vessels along the way.
The land parade and boat parade are open to anyone who would like to participate, and cash prizes will be awarded to the best decorated boats in three categories: •recreational, small and large commercial vessels. There is no fee to be in either parade, though pre-registration is required to enter the decorated boat contest.
Vendor Booth Space and Sponsorship Opportunities are available; contact Ellen Turner, Parish Office at 251-824-2415 or visit the website at: www.fleetblessing.org for additional information.