Southport Blessing of the Fleet and Street Parade

The annual Southport Street Parade will take place this Saturday, June 24 at 11 a.m. starting at Southport Congregational Church parking lot on Pequot Avenue and end at Southport’s Lower Wharf, where the Blessing of the Fleet will take place starting at about noon.

The march will feature five fife-and-drum corps and one pipe band, the Governor’s Horse Guard, various federal, state and local officials, and a delegation from Pequot Library.

The Grand marshals of the parade will be George and Harriet Wiswell.

The fife-and-drum corps and pipe band will include the New York Ancients Fife & Drum Band, Bluff Point Quahog Digger Band of New England, Junior Colonials Fife & Drum from Westbrook, Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps, Mattituck Drum Band and the Fairfield Gaelic Pipe Band.

In addition to the bands, there will be many classic cars provided by the CT Seaport Car Club as well as many local groups participating.

Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies are an annual tradition that began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities. Past Commodore of the Pequot Yacht Club, Steve Galpin, initiated the local Blessing of the Fleet in Southport Harbor almost 23 years ago.

At least 50 vessels are expected to pass by the Lower Wharf during the Blessing of the Fleet ceremony. The boats will be blessed by seven local clergymen, the Revs. Peggy Hodgkins and DCommodorerson of Trinity Episcopal Church, the Revs. David Rowe and Alida Ward of Greenfield Hill Congregational, Deacon Daniel Ianiello of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, and the Revs. Kevin and Jill Olds of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.

With mastheads festooned with decorative signal flags, sailboats, motorboats and sometimes kayaks and canoes, pass under a giant arc of water pumped across Southport Harbor by a local fire engine. The boats will all be blessed by the clergy posted at the Lower Wharf’s fishing dock.

Before the parade and fleet blessing, Eagle Hill School, 214 Main St. along the line of march, will serve a pancake breakfast starting at 8:30 a.m. Southport Congregational Church and Trinity Episcopal Church will be offering treats, while at the Lower Wharf the Southport volunteer firefighters will be serving hot dogs, with voluntary donations encouraged, and Parker Rodgers will supply popsicles.

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