Blessing of the Fleet 2020 planned online

Photos of past Blessing of the Fleet events, like the 2019 boat procession shown above, will be shown online in place of an in-person gathering this year. (News-Times file photo)

Though Lincoln County is beginning the process of reopening, restrictions on social gatherings remain in place with a cap of 25 attendees. In an effort to preserve their annual tradition, the Newport Fishermen’s Wives are taking the Blessing of the Fleet online this year.

Though the name of the event only references the central activity — the annual prayers given for the fishing fleet by local pastors — the whole day is filled with celebrations of the fishing community. This year, those events will be remembered with photos and video from past years. Anyone can attend the virtual event from home by visiting the Blessing of the Fleet event page on May 30.

Starting at 9 a.m., there will be photos of survival suit races, winners and commentators from past years, as well as some safety information.

At 10:30 a.m., a video will be shown of pastors giving prayers over photos of vessels from the fishing fleet, the Coast Guard and charter businesses, among others. The video will be a combination of photos and videos from the Newport Fishermen’s Wives and community members, along with music by Patti Brewer. Boats in absentia and those who contributed to the event will be listed at the end of the video.

Anyone who would like to have their fishing, research or charter vessel shown in the blessing can email a photo to [email protected]

At 11:30 a.m., the Newport Fishermen’s Wives will give a presentation on all that they do in the community, from organizing events like this one to holding fundraisers, as well as why they do it.

At 1 p.m., there will be photos and videos from the annual BBQ in past years. The wives will also share information on how to get seafood on the docks or at the fish market, and how to process seafood before cooking it.

At 3 p.m., photos and commentary from past Highliner Competitions will be shown, as well as photos and information about the ribbon trail.

The last and most solemn event of the day will be the memorial, which will include photos of the Fishermen’s Memorial in Yaquina Bay State Park, footage of Mikayla Retherford singing, a prayer and a list of those who have been lost between May 2019 and this year’s event.

“This year we were adding a Dedication Ceremony for the new Helo Pad at the Newport Samaritan Hospital,” the Newport Fishermen’s Wives announced this month. “The new Helo pad can accommodate our USCG helo. We hope to still have this event at a later date when restrictions are lifted.”

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