Pascagoula revives maritime tradition despite oil worries - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Pascagoula revives maritime tradition despite oil worries

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - As the sun glistened off the water, nearly 50 boats filed into line.  Big and small, recreational and commercial, they each received a blessing for a prosperous summer at sea.

"We just felt like if we talk with the city, we'd be successful in bringing it back," said organizer William Odom. "And this being the first year, we think we have a big turnout this year."

"All this is about wishing the commercial fishermen a safe and prosperous season, which we certainly hope they do have," said participant John Lindgren. "So we add a little bit of fun to it."

It's a wish that takes on special significance this year, as oil gushes into gulf waters.

"We certainly are praying that the oil stays out and nature takes care of it, or man with his chemicals or dispersants," said Lindgren. "Hopefully they'll get this thing plugged sooner or later."

Over the past few weeks, planners have worried the oil would stymie the event's revival.

"From day to day, we were concerned that we might not be able to have the event depending on how close the oil came," said Odom. "I know some of the food vendors had decided that they wouldn't participate; they were having issues with their business not really doing so well because of this oil crisis."

He also added, "We were concerned about the sheen coming in and people not wanting to get their boat in it."

But for now, local waters are open, and the boaters who participated said they're having fun.  Organizers said they expect the event to grow and prosper in future years. 

"I think we've got plenty of time between now and next year that if they can get the oil stopped, it shouldn't affect us at all next year," said Odom.

Odom said he hopes to combine the event next year with the Flagship festival, a traditional Pascagoula event that also fell out of existence in recent years. He hopes the two revived events will become mainstays in Pascagoula again.

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