What is the Blessing of the Fleet?
A lot of folks not familiar with Maryland's history or the importance of the seafood industry in Maryland may wonder what the Blessing of the Fleet is. It is a religious celebration of Maryland's Birthplace, the landmark of St. Clement's Island, and a blessing of the boats, or fleet, as October 1 generally begins the oyster harvesting season in Maryland.
In the early years of the 7th District Optimist Club, Father John J. Madigan, Pastor of Holy Angels Church in Avenue, MD, suggested to Club President James Banagan that there should be an annual event to bless the oyster boats as they began the harvest season, and to celebrate the history of Maryland's Birthplace.
They decided to name this event the Blessing of the Fleet, and celebrated that year at the end of September. The first event saw 700 people attend, but the following year, through help and support from the local community as well as the Maryland Watermen's Association and Harry Lundenberg School of Seamanship, over 5,000 people attended.
The Blessing of the Fleet is still celebrated annually each year, and just celebrated its 45th birthday. The event still combines the history where Maryland began, the religious blessing of the oyster boats, and a weekend of fun family activities.
The 7th District Optimist Club
"Friend of Youth"
Serving the Youth of St. Mary's County for 40 years
P.O. Box 53, Bushwood, MD 20618
This website and its contents are the property of the 7th District Optimist Club. All rights reserved.
2013 Blessing of the Fleet
Saturday & Sunday, October 5th & 6th
St. Clement's Island Museum Grounds
38370 Point Breeze Road, Coltons Point, MD 20620
Fun two-day family event honoring Maryland's Birthplace
Water Taxi Rides to Historic St. Clement's Island and Blackistone Lighthouse take place all day both days.
Visit the recently reconstructed Blackistone Lighthouse and the Cross on St. Clement's Island.
Reptile World has become one of the most popular events at the Blessing. Takes place on Sunday.
For the younger kids, The Blue Sky Puppet Show is always a hit. Takes place on Saturday.
Enjoy the view, food, drinks and entertainment. Bands, Parade, wine tasting, kid-friendly activities.
Best Fireworks Show Anywhere
Takes Place Saturday Night
Arts & Crafts
Wine & Beer Stands
Kiddie Tractor Pull
Learn about the history of Maryland's Birthplace at the St. Clement's Island Museum. Free admission during the Blessing.