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Each year since 2008, the Women of Fishing Families, in collaboration with St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, have organized and hosted a Blessing of the Fleet at the fish pier on Chatham Harbor. The event, which is generally held on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, brings together fishermen and the broader community to honor the Town of Chatham’s founding industry.

In addition to the reverend of St. Christopher’s officiating the blessing, a symbolic wreath, honoring those who have passed away, is set out to sea by the children of local fishing families while W.O.F.F. members light lanterns. Each blessing is a little different: In past years we’ve had children from the Rocking Unicorn nursery offer a prayer, young sisters sing “Amazing Grace”and local fiddle player Gene Clancy perform his song “Leaving Stage Harbor”.

After the blessing comes the party! There’s food – fresh seafood is a common theme…naturally! – and beer and wine donated by local businesses. The 2016 event will feature live music from the SeaFire Kids whose members include local fisherman and W.O.F.F. member Shannon Eldredge. Kids’ activities include an opportunity to explore marine critters about the Miss Eelgrass dinghy.

Donations are welcome wherever a “pink boot” stands. All proceeds are used to assist local fishing families in a time of need.

Check out photos from previous year’s Blessing here.