DIAMONDHEAD -- More than 500 classic car owners will hopefully have a safe passage as they cruise the Coast the rest of the week after being blessed by representatives from local churches Wednesday afternoon at the annual Blessing of the Classics in Diamondhead.
The event was the first Cruisin' The Coast event in Hancock County this year.
"This is our third year to do this," blessing coordinator Mark Duffy said. "It's a special event that had to be cleared with the Cruisin' The Coast organization. Now, it's an official Cruisin' The Coast event."
Participants in the blessing lined up near the interstate and drove up Diamondhead Drive East to a cul-de-sac before heading back down the boulevard, which was lined with spectators.
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Each driver was given a certificate and a medallion, as well as a quick blessing from a clergy member. After the vehicles were blessed, they returned to Rouses Market where they parked in the parking lot for a reception.
"This was my baby to start with," Duffy said. "The City of Diamonhead wanted to get involved with Cruisin' The Coast. The idea was to mirror the yearly Blessing of the Fleet event. Why not have a Blessing of the Classics?"
Rev. Paddy Mockler of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Pass Christian has participated in the blessing since its inception.
"I find great joy in this event," Mockler said. "I look forward to doing it every year."
Catholics weren't the only religion represented Wednesday as volunteers from Diamondhead United Methodist Church were on hand to assist with the blessings. The church's pastor, Rev. Cliff Burris, said the event is a great representation of Southern hospitality.
"This is my second year to help out," Burris said. "It's a great way to welcome people from all over the country to the Gulf Coast. It's definitely not a ministry we learned in seminary. It's very unique to the Coast. There is nowhere else in Mississippi where I would be standing outside for several hours and blessing cars."