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Promo Image: Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Blessing Of The Fleet

Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Blessing Of The Fleet

It’s a tradition that started centuries ago in the Mediterranean, and today it continues in Harbor Springs.

This now annual event brings together everything from yachts to paddle boards, all to kick off the start of summer.

Corey Adkins takes us there for this week’s Sightseeing in Northern Michigan.

“Tonight is the fourth annual Blessing of the Fleet here in here in the harbor of Harbor Springs,” says Patricia Anton, Blessing of the Fleet co-founder. “It goes back centuries. In the Mediterranean, mostly started in fishing villages to send the fleet off so they would come back safely, of course, but also with a great bounty. And in a town like Harbor Springs, where we have such a great history of water and we use the water in so many ways, like for pleasure and for the bounty, we thought in Harbor Springs we needed to pay our respects to the sea and to celebrate the blessing that we have.”

“The first boat for the boat parade is actually a Jiman, and it’s a traditional canoe belonging to the Odawa tribe here, and they are going to be the first vessel to start off the parade,” explains Mary Cummings, Harbor Springs Historical Society. “We count every single vessel. We count all the paddle boards, the dinghies, the canoes.”

Patricia adds, “Anything from small tenders to recreation fisherman, to classic motor yachts like this one, and our friends over there at Canim, and every kind of boat in between. And there will be people on board with their families and friends just having fun and really celebrating this ritual of the beginning of summer here in Harbor Springs.”

Holy Childhood Church’s Rev. Joseph P. Graff says, “I think it’s a wonderful spirit. They want to have a Blessing of the Fleet as a tie in with history, but also, as I said, it’s a wonderful blessing for the people to know the Lord’s with them, so if their engine breaks down in the middle of the bay they’re going to be OK.”