This was the 44th Annual Blessing of the Fleet in Darien. It’s one of a few remaining on the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.
Participants await their turns in the shrimp boat parade, which is the highlight of the Blessing of the Fleet. From the eastern edge of Darien the boats parade toward the US Highway 17 bridge, receive their blessings, and return to the docks, all to the cheers of thousands of well-wishers. This tradition has grown into one of Georgia’s most popular festivals, including a weekend-long celebration featuring fine artists, musicians, vendors, and of course, the freshest wild Georgia seafood available.
I cannot overemphasize my support for the member fishermen of the Wild Georgia Shrimp Association. Most people don’t realize that most of the shrimp and other seafood they buy in grocery stores and markets these days is far from fresh, and originates far from Georgia. Chinese and farm-raised shrimp and fish have essentially taken over the U. S. market, but not only is their quality vastly inferior, its availability threatens the very way of life of the men, women and families who make their livings fishing in Georgia’s coastal waters.If you have the choice, only purchase shrimp branded with the “Wild Georgia Shrimp” logo or look for their decal on restaurant doors and menus. If an establishment doesn’t carry it, ask them why not. Though fresh seafood is always more readily available near the coast, the Wild Georgia Shrimp logo is starting to show up in more and more localities.