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Blessing of the Fleet - Newport, Oregon
Newport

Newport Fishermen's Wives photoTradition runs deep at Newport’s annual Blessing of the Fleet: a community ceremony honoring local fishermen and their families. The Blessing is open to any and all who wish to ask blessings on their fishing vessel, charter vessel, pleasure craft, or research vessel.  All vessels wishing to ask for protection at sea, bountiful catches, and peace of mind for families at home.

Parade of vessels begins at 12:45 pm on Yaquina Bay, near the Port’s international terminal. The USCG Search & Rescue Helicopter (if available) and the motor lifeboats of Station Yaquina Bay signal the start of the parade.

All vessels will follow the lead vessel of their fishery, or category, from the international terminal heading West, turning just in front of the bridge before heading East to pass in front of the motor lifeboat Victory. Onboard the Victory, local ministers will ask blessings as each vessel passes in front of them.  The broadcast can be heard over KNPT 1310 AM beginning at 1:05 PM

The Blessing of the Fleet began as an old world Sicilian custom emphasizing faith and perseverance - qualities that have long fueled those who go to sea to earn their living.   Since the 1950’s Newport’s Blessing of the Fleet has continued the custom of asking for prayers for protection at sea, bountiful catches, and peace of mind for the families at home.   Participating ministers are members of the local churches.

The third Saturday in March, is chosen because it falls at a time when many Newport fishermen are in port gearing up-coming seasons; Chinook salmon or the Oregon pink shrimp season.  Dungeness crab season continues through August, although many of the crabbers will have put away their gear and will be readying for other fisheries.

Other same-day events:SurvivalSuitRaces

Survival Suit Races at 9:30 am at the Newport Tradewinds dock - Teams-of-three don survival suits while being timed, enter the bay and swim out to a raft - anchored about 50 feet from the dock.  Once there they have to pull themselves up into the raft to stop the clock.  This is a team event where participants are encouraged to help each other so that all make it safely into the raft.  Teams are made up of fishermen, family members, US Coast Guard personnel, and community members like the Newport Loyalty Days and Sea Fair Festival Court. The competition can be fierce and a lot of fun for all vying for best individual and team times.

Service honoring the fishing community and its families at the Fishermen’s Memorial Sanctuary at Yaquina FishermansMemoriaNewportBay State Park - Although the Blessing Parade is the centerpiece of the celebration, a whole day of events are planned beginning with the annual Memorial Service that will take place at the Fishermen's Memorial Sanctuary at Yaquina Bay State Park at 8am.

This service is meant to offer support and encouragement to the families and community while remembering Lincoln County fishermen lost at sea.Participants are encouraged to bring a flower to add to a communal bouquet in remembrance of their friend or loved one.

A week or so before the blessing there will be a special trail of blue ribbons tied from the Fishermen's Memorial at Yaquina Bay State Park along the Bayfront to the docks. This trail of ribbons symbolizes Lincoln County commercial fishermen since 1900 that have lost their lives at sea while working to harvest fresh wild seafood and make a life for their family.

The Great Newport Seafood Cook-Off
-20 teams creating delectable dishes with crab, cod, sole and shrimp, 6 pm at Newport Middle School

 

More info at Fishermen's Wives website

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