PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - There was a lot more going on at this year's Blessing of Fleet in Pass Christian. The annual event is to ask God for a safe shrimping season and to honor fishermen who lost their lives at sea.
The prayers usually come from two or maybe three priests or ministers. Reverend David Knight of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church said four clergymen at the Pass Christian Blessing of the Fleet is the most he's ever seen.
"More hands on deck is always good for blessing," said Rev. Knight. "Lots of boats and lots of people asking for blessings this year. "
The 33rd Annual Blessing of the Fleet was about more. More financial donations from area businesses and more volunteers putting in the leg work, are the reasons organizers give for having 35 boat owners show up in need of blessing.
Harbor Master Willie Davis said, "We probably doubled what we had last year. Even with the children and their rodeo. We have right now 86 signed up compared to, what, we had about 25 last year. "
The children's fishing rodeo is one of the family friendly activities that organizers say helps to make the event for more than just boat owners. Once the Pass Christian Harbor repairs are finished, the expectation is to lure even more visitors.
"Next year we're hoping to have the fair in here. We had plans for it this year, but the parking lot is not quite ready," said Davis. "We've just got approved to finish some minor repairs in the parking lot. Hopefully we'll get the paving done here in the next month or two."
People whose boats were blessed to insure a safe shrimping season say participation slowed down after Katrina, but now it's full speed ahead.
Shrimper Roscoe Levy said, "It's coming back, more and more every year. The last few years after Katrina was a little slow, but now we're back and strolling here."
This year, organizers say Pass Christian's city flag flew over the Blessing for the first time.