Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival

Every year the people of Charleston, and others from across the Low Country, come out for the springtime Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival. The celebration is in support of the local shrimping and fishing industry, thanking the captains and their families for all the wild-caught seafood they supply to the community.

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Tents

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Green

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Wetlands

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Ravenel Bridge From Pier

The event takes place at the Memorial Waterfront Park in Mount Pleasant, under Ravenel Bridge, overlooking Charleston Harbor. It attracts all types of people, local businesses, families, and lots of children!

Blessing of the Fleet Children Kids

Blessing of the Fleet Boats on the Water Railing

Blessing of the Fleet Boats on the Water

All sorts of pleasure boats show up for the event, bobbing in the bay to get a good view of the festivities.

Blessing of the Fleet Sailboat

Blessing of the Fleet USA 555 Sailboat

Everything starts off down at the end of the pier with the shrimp boat parade; each one is blessed by the local priest as it passes by. The boats carry crew and their family members onboard, and everyone waves and applauds from both sides. It’s very sweet.

Blessing of the Fleet Pier

Blessing of the Fleet Seahorse Blue

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Amy Marie

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Family Thing

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Lady Paige

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Miss Paula

This one even had Forest Gump himself onboard – up top, wearing a red cap and holding his suitcase, enthusiastically waving to the crowd!

Blessing of the Fleet Wave

The local radio station broadcasts the blessing live, so all the boats out there can tune in and hear the ceremony as it happens.

Blessing of the Fleet Preachers

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Mrs Judy Too

Blessing of the Fleet Shrimp Boat Richardson Brothers Wave

After the parade, there was a live band playing and lots of people “shagging” on the lawn. That’s what they call the local dance, the Charleston Shag, we were relieved to hear. We had to explain our shocked faces to a few of the revellers we spoke to – it means something very different in the UK!

Blessing of the Fleet Festival East Coast Party Band

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Beer

Blessing of the Fleet Beer I Orange Charleston

But enough praying and dancing – it was finally time to get a taste of all this local seafood everyone’s so proud of!

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Food Broiled Crawfish Sign

Blessing of the Fleet Seafood Festival Stands

Blessing of the Fleet Festival Pickled Shrimp Sign

Blessing of the Fleet Food Boiled Crawfish

I was desperate to try hot boiled crawfish. But first, I needed a little instruction. Thankfully, some friendly folks sitting across from us were happy to talk me through the mechanics of it. Basically, just snap the heads off, peel the tail, and eat!

Blessing of the Fleet Food Broiled Crawfish Eat

Blessing of the Fleet Food Broiled Crawfish Peel

They were excellent! Some local ladies next to me told me the real delicacy was to suck the discarded heads of the crawfish. But I couldn’t tell if she was kidding me, and it didn’t really sound like my thing, so I gave it a pass.

Next, we tried pickled shrimp, fish tacos, and regular old peel and eat shrimp (sprinkled with Old Bay, of course).

Pickled Shrimp

Pickled Shrimp

Fish Taco

Fish Taco

Blessing of the Fleet Food Fish Taco Tortilla

Blessing of the Fleet Food Peel and Eat Shrimp

Without sounding trite, it seems to me that the closer you are to the sea, the better the seafood. We are really going to make an effort to choose local seafood over imported fish from now on. Luckily, we have plenty of options for buying local in this department! Most of the shrimp boats in the parade operate out of Shem’s Creek in Mount Pleasant – hope to see you there this season!

3 thoughts on “Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival

  1. Art Potts

    Liked your shagging comment Lenda is still laughing must have been a shock should have seen my face when on a cruise out a Charleston a gal asked me if I wanted to shag Good thing by then I knew it was a dance.

    Reply
    1. godsavethescene Post author

      Pottsie, you know how it is when you’re not sure you heard something right? Well, we must have had some funny looks on our faces, because it had to be explained to us! Glad it gave Lenda a laugh!

      Reply

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