90TH ANNUAL BLESSING OF THE FLEET & SHRIMP FESTIVAL June 1-2 2019
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A ceremonial blessing, given by a local Catholic priest, marks the beginning of the shrimp fishing season. Even though it had its origins in ancient times in Europe, the first Blessing of the Fleet in the Biloxi Bay was given in 1929, and now takes place annually in a colorful procession in the Mississippi Sound.
The ceremony begins with the dropping of an evergreen wreath into the Sound in remembrance of fishermen who have been lost at sea. Then a procession of more than 30 shrimp boats files past the anchored “Blessing Boat” where the officiating priest stands, sprinkling holy water on each of the boats and giving a blessing for each one, asking a safe and prosperous fishing season.
2016 Queen Paige Jimerson and King Franklin Parker