Entertainment

It’s Blessing of the Fleet weekend in Biloxi

The 1929 Blessing of the Fleet.
The 1929 Blessing of the Fleet. Courtesy of L.J. 'Joe' Scholtes Collection/Southern Possum Tales Archives

A longstanding Biloxi tradition returns this weekend with the 88th Annual Blessing of the Fleet and Shrimp Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

The event is a cherished tradition for locals and includes the popular Fais Do-Do, and the crowning of the festival king and queen Saturday and the blessing of boats on Sunday.

Kay Miller, festival co-chair, said Biloxi’s annual blessing has been carried out for generations.

“We are one of the oldest in the country, but there are many, so we say we are ‘one’ of the oldest,” Miller said. “It’s a blessing of all boats and a celebration for those who are going out.”

A new addition this year is the Shrimp-n-Boots 5K and Fun Run. Both runs will begin and end at the Point Cadet Pavilion on Saturday. Check-in and late registration is at 7 a.m. The 5K begins at 8. The 1-mile Fun Run begins at 8:45. The entry fee for each run is $25.

Following the run will be a contest for the best-decorated shrimping boots. Laurie Rosetti, also festival co-chair, said when Biloxi seafood factories were in operation, the wearing of shrimping boots was so common that they earned the nickname “Biloxi Reeboks.”

“People would walk down the street wearing them after work,” Rosetti said. “It was as common to see people in them as it was tennis shoes. And they’re white boots, so they’re just screaming to be decorated.”

Also on Saturday, The Blessing Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church, located at 177 1st St., will be at 4 p.m.

The Fais Do-Do, French-Cajun for “street party,” will be held at Point Cadet Pavilion from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The event kicks off with the Biloxi Cultural and Heritage Exchange at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum.

The event celebrates the seafood industry, St. Michael Catholic Church and the Slavonian and French communities. Throughout the day there will be seafood, craft vendors and local art. The coronation of the king and queen will be at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, and at 7 p.m., there will be live music by the Chee Weez.

Admission to the Fais Do-Do is $5 until 5:30 p.m., and $7 afterward.

The celebration continues Sunday with the ceremonial wreath dropping at 2 p.m., followed by the blessing of the fleet. Boats will form in the west end of the Biloxi Channel and parade east. Both shrimping and recreational boats may be blessed, and no application is required. The best decorated boat will be awarded $1,000, and $500 will be awarded for second place. A $500 participation award will go to a selected working boat.

The 88th Blessing of the Fleet

Fais Do-Do: 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday at Point Cadet Pavillion, Biloxi

Saturday Activities

Shrimp N Boots Run 8 a.m.

Cultural & Heritage Exchange 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Shrimp Queen Pageant & Coronation 5:30 p.m.

Saturday Entertainment

Chasing Scarlett 10 a.m.

No Plain Jane 12:30 p.m.

Blackwater Brass 3 p.m.

The Chee Weez 7-9 p.m.

Admission to the Fais Do-Do is $5 until 5:30 p.m., and $7 afterward.

Sunday Blessing

Ceremonial wreath dropping: 2 p.m., followed by the blessing of the fleet. Boats will form in the west end of the Biloxi Channel and parade east. Both shrimping and recreational boats may be blessed, and no application is required.

  Comments