The annual “Blessing of the Fleet” is Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013, to be held at 1100 Shrimp Boat Lane on San Carlos Island at approximately 2:30 PM. The Shrimp Fleet owners have once again invited St. Raphael’s by the Sea Anglican Church to host the 2013 Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet. The first Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet took place on December 21, 1952, when the Rt. Rev. H.T. Loutitt, the Bishop of South Florida Episcopal Diocese conducted the blessing at the Columbia Fish Company Docks. Colorfully docorated shrimp bloats passed by to receive their blessing while the Beach School Glee Club sang and the Master of Ceremonies, William R. Rumpf, lowered an anchor of white gladioli on the waters in memory of the crewmen lost at sea. In the 60 years since that first blessing, the ceremony has become a tradition on the island. The date for the Blessing is scheduled by the shrimpers each year in accordance to the first full moon closest to Easter without being during Holy Week. The Blessing of the Fleet is a favorite local celebration that brings visitors from all over. Vendors will have their booths open from noon to 5:00 PM. The popular shrimp eating contest will begin at 1:30pm. Make sure you don’t miss this fun tradition that brings folks from all walks of life together. Come and walk the docks with the Bishop! Call 239-765-1828 for more information, or click here.