Blessing of the Fleet slated for Sunday in the shadow of the stack
, 2014

Blessing of the Fleet
slated for Sunday in
the shadow of the stack

The community is invited to the Blessing of the Fleet on Sunday, May 5.

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This is an ancient tradition celebrated each spring all over the world and Reedville hosts its own ceremony for local watermen and all who enjoy and work on the water, according to Kristine Gibson Stables, St. Mary’s Fleeton publicity lead.

The ceremony marks the opening of the fishing season on the Chesapeake Bay and local clergy ask for God’s blessing on the fishermen and their boats and for a fruitful season, said Stables.

The honorary Harbormaster will be Wendell Haynie.

The parade of boats will start at 3:30 p.m. from the mouth of Cockrell’s Creek, proceed up  the creek to the old Morris-Fisher factory tall stack property  and anchor there for a 4 p.m. ceremony.

The parade will be led by Captain Linwood Bowis and the Chesapeake Breeze, the Reedville Fishermen’s Museum’s Elva C, and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission patrol boat.

Omega Protein will be represented by the F/V-I Rappahannock. All other boats are invited to follow in the parade.

Music will be provided by St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Choir, Bethany United Methodist Church Choir and the Reedville Chorale. Thomasina Acree will begin the ceremony and sing the national anthem.

The Honorable John Chichester will speak.

Sen. Chichester represented District 28 in the Virginia Senate from 1978 to 2007. In 1995, he became co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. When the Republican Party achieved majority status in 1999, he became the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

A memorial wreath will be cast on the water by the Harbormaster and an honor guard from American Legion Post 117. The Northumberland High School Beta Club will help with various activities.

Committee co-lead Bud Bolger acknowledges the generous contributions of the sponsors, community leaders and volunteers.

“St. Mary’s Fleeton Episcopal Church and Omega Protein thank all the participants in this 43rd annual Blessing of the Fleet,” said Bolger. “Without the help of our community, clergy, veterans, watermen, and choirs, who are contributing to this memorial service, the event would not be possible. The Blessing of the Fleet is a time-honored tradition meant to recognize the Northern Neck’s seagoing heritage, and will continue for years to come.”

By land, take Northumberland Highway East to Reedville. At the Y, bear left onto Fleeton Road, then right onto Menhaden Road at the Omega Protein sign. Remember to bring a lawn chair.

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