June 16, 2013 at 1:00pm
History comes to life with the traditional Blessing Ceremony on Sunday at 1:00pm: commercial fishing boats, tugs, powerboats, sailboats, excursion and transportation craft, and rowboats parade through Bayfield’s City Harbor. As they pass by the tip of the pier, clergy from the Apostle Islands community grant each vessel a blessing for safe passage and a prosperous season on Lake Superior.
All boats in the Chequamegon Bay area are invited to participate in the ecumenical service and Blessing Ceremony. The United States Coast Guard Auxillary will direct the boats through the harbor via marine radio and/or megaphone. Boaters with questions concerning participation in this historic parade should contact the Bayfield Chamber of Commerce at (715) 779-3335 or (800) 447-4094. To participate as a boater please download a registration form (PDF).
Lake Superior is Bayfield’s lifeblood. The Lake has drawn countless people to this area, from the Ojibwe, to the fur traders and missionaries, to commercial fishermen, and finally to tourists and pleasure boaters. In the late 1950′s Bayfield inaugurated the Blessing of the Fleet to honor its fishing families who formed the backbone of the area’s economy.
In the 1800′s fishing was second only to logging as Bayfield’s main industry. Millions of pounds of trout, whitefish and herring were harvested and exported throughout the United States. Although commercial fishing has declined since its early boom, many families still count on Lake Superior’s bounty for their livelihood. Although they now share the waters with a multitude of new vessels: charter fishing services, sightseeing tours, pleasure boaters, kayaks, canoes, and government craft, the pulse of the commercial fishing industry still runs strong in Bayfield, and its citizens are proud to honor this vital part of their Lake Superior Heritage.
In keeping with tradition, a Blessing of the Fleet music concert will be offered at the Bayfield Presbyterian Church on Saturday, June 15th, from 5:00-6:15 pm, as part of the Summer (Mostly) Thursdays concert series. Featured will be Duluth-based Strikepoint, one of the world’s top handbell ensembles. Please explore our calendar of events for other spring Bayfield activities.