Blessing of the Fleet
Landlubbers are encouraged to gather on the shoreline and watch the boat parade pass by the Festival site. Be there by 11:30 on Sunday.
Sunday’s Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is the highlight of the Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival. These solemn annual blessings had their start more than 50 years ago when the event was part of the “Discovery Days Celebration” and we had a thriving commercial fishing industry. Today it is part and parcel of the annual Bodega Bay Fisherman’s Festival weekend. Discovery Days commemorated the discovery of Bodega Bay by Lt. Bodega y Quadra while surveying these waters for the Spanish in 1775.
At the first “Discovery Days Celebration” event in 1958, some 17 festively decorated boats were blessed in the parade – appropriately led by Eddie, William and Steve Smith, members from the large local Miwok Indian family which began the commercial fishing industry in Bodega Bay in the 1920s.
Today, even with a declining industry, the traditional annual blessing of the fishing fleet is an important observance for the entire community and acknowledges the key role of those who farm the seas, often at great risk to themselves. Local clergy officiate at the Blessing and a flower wreath is cast upon the waters honoring the fishermen lost at sea.