Blessing of the Fleet will be held this year with schedule changes

Blessing of the Fleet will be held this year with schedule changes

DARIEN, Ga. (WTOC) - This past year, many events were canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Including Darien’s annual Blessing of the Fleet.

The Darien-McIntosh County Chamber of Commerce announced the event is back this year.

The Blessing of the Fleet usually brings out more than 30,000 people to the small town of Darien. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the local Chamber of Commerce chose to break up the three-day festival into two separate events.

On Sunday, April 18 at 2 p.m., the traditional boat parade will happen at the Darien River Bridge and Waterfront.

Then the typical two-day festival is getting pushed back to September 17 and 18.

The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that celebrates the community’s biggest industry - shrimping.

While it will look different this year, the chamber’s executive director says it was still important to bless the shrimp boat captains, praying for a safe and bountiful 2021 season.

“It’s something that, especially just coming out of COVID, where everyone has been in isolation, it is for the morale of our people and the area and just showing that we have not forgotten that we’re still very much involved and supportive of this industry,” Executive Director Alexandra Smetana said.

Smetana says they are encouraging social distancing and masks will not be required.

Copyright 2021 WTOC. All rights reserved.