2016 Parade of Boats

Click here to go to the Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine website for more information about the statue.

Blessing of the Fleet updates are also posted on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BlessingoftheFleetSTL

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The 59th Annual Blessing of the Fleet / Parade of Boats was a huge success!
We are looking forward to an even bigger one for next year, the 60th Annual!

2016 Winners, theme was "Your Favorite Sport"
Click on thumbnail to view / download larger pic.

Judges Choice Winner, "The Shark"  
WINNER WINNER
Judges Choice Winner, "Sea Grace"  
WINNER WINNER
Judge Choice Winner, black Crownline (no name)  
WINNER WINNER
Judges Choice Winner, "Bazinga"  
WINNER WINNER
Judges Choice Winner, "River Rats"  
WINNER WINNER
Con Trios Yacht Club Winner, "Good Life"  
WINNER WINNER
St. Louis Boat & Sportshow Winner, Duck Dynasty theme  
WINNER WINNER

2016 Blessing photos by Maureen Weil

2016 Blessing photos by Lisa Hickey

Short video of the start of the Blessing showing the two parades merging.

 

Update 8/17/2016:

Blessing of the Fleet News Flash!
Blessing of the Fleet Judges stand will be located on the top deck of the HMS Destiny yacht moored in front of the My River Home Yacht Club just upstream from the Shrine of Our Lady of the Rivers. Captains Henry and Glenn have graciously offered the vessel and will it have moored in front of the deck where the judging used to take place.

There will be a new "Pick Out Boat" at the Blessing of the Fleet this year. Our usual guy, Craig Tredway, is a Judge so Aimee Davison has volunteered herself and her waverunner to fill that position. So if you see this lovely lady and waverunner approaching your boat that is good news! Means you are in the running for best decorated boat!

Blessing of the Fleet / Parade of Boats route change. Due to a new wing dike in the cut from the Mississippi into the Illinois and subsequent silting in we feel it is too risky to bring a long parade thru there. Thus, we will go back to the old route for the Upper Pool Parade starting at Yacht Club of St. Louis at 1 PM, proceeding downstream in the Dardenne Slough and then continuing on downstream in Mississippi River to get Blessed at the Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine at 2:15 PM. As always, all boaters are welcome to join the Parade anywhere along the route. Grafton Harbor boaters can meet us at the Confluence Buoy as the Parade passes. We are very sorry to have to make this change and will see if we can do something else next year. Darryll Weil, President, Blessing of the Fleet.

History of the Blessing: 60 years ago members of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary began the Blessing of the Fleet. As time went by the Auxiliary was limited in sponsoring private events. It is with a sense of pride and honor that we have had a member of the Auxiliary as a Judge for the Blessing the last several years to continue the connection with the founders!

Update 8/7/2016:

The Blessing of the Fleet now has yard signs!  Some were placed around Portage des Sioux on Sunday during the St. Francis of Assisi Annual Church Picnic and RiverBill has arranged for more signs to be placed at the area marinas!  Many Thanks to all that have allowed us to place the signs.  Click HERE to see some pics of the ones around Portage, watch for more as they are put up at the marinas.

Update 8/2/2016:

News Flash! Just got a message from Mary Tiemann and Bill Kelley, the RiverBills Girls will be at the Blessing of the Fleet around the Mike's LaRosa Cabana Bar where the awards will be given out on Saturday August 20th during and after the parade!

2016 Benefit for the Blessing photos by Maureen Weil

2016 Benefit for the Blessing photos by Lisa Hickey

Quick update:

The Benefit for the Blessing of the Fleet was a HUGE success! Many Thanks to all our generous attendees and everyone that helped in any way. I am overwhelmed. Darryll

Here's a video of the "Great Ball Splash & Grab" from Saturday at Grafton Harbor. More pictures will be posted soon or check our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/BlessingoftheFleetSTL/

 

BENEFIT FOR THE BLESSING IS SATURDAY JULY 16TH AT GRAFTON HARBOR

POOL PARTY FROM ABOUT 1:30 TO 5:30 PM, "D-DOCK DJs" AND RIVERBILLS GIRLS

"GREAT BALL SPLASH AND GRAB" RAFFLE PRIZES AND CONTRIBUTORS SO FAR:

CLICK HERE TO SEE SOME PICTURES OF THE PRIZES

SPONSOR
PRIZE
Our Hosts and other items
Music and sound system and much help
Bucket of Goodies
$100 donation
Dinner with the firefighters for 4 to 6 people
W. Dean West D.D.S.
Dental and Cosmetic services
RiverBills Girls
Mary Beth Tiemann
RiverBills dock cart full of goodies
Sherri Stanczak
Crocheted Mermaid and Shark outfits
Pull Out
1 yr. TowBoatUS membership
1 night slip with a bottle of wine
2-2 night stays
2 -2 hour house keeping service $160.00
$50.00 Gift Certificate
$50.00 Gift Certificate
2 Hendrickson's Gift Boxes
One Night Stay King Whirlpool Suite or Two Queen Bed Suite
2 -$50.00 Gift Certificates
$100.00 Fuel Certificate
2 STL Cardinals tickets
"Scoundrel" Captain Dutch Hauhe
Wine Cruise for 4 adults over 21
Mike and Sherry Lorance "Bullship"
Captain Morgan 3D metal wall sign
Happy Hour for 6
1 free month
2 - $25.00 gas cards
25.00 Gift Card
$25 Gift Certificate
Friends of Darryll & Maureen
electric BBQ pit, pop up tent, folding chairs, and a bunch of misc items
Nicole L'Hote
Games
Cardinals bobbleheads, jerseys and other memorabilia from Louie L'Hote's personal collection.
Darryll & Maureen
Rolling cooler and 12 pack of beer
Joe Boyer
Crown Royal gift pack and bottles
2 Night stay & $20 to club
Posters
Chair & cooler, hat, tshirts, sunglasses, water bottle

 

Little Johns Motorsports quarter mile drag boat will be on display at the Benefit for the Blessing of the Fleet Saturday afternoon. Come on out and see the boat and the half car that tows it!

Kwitchabitchin

The Benefit for the Blessing of the Fleet will be at Grafton Harbor on Saturday July 16th, 2016

The world famous "D" Dock DJs will be playing the tunes poolside.

1:30 to 3:30 the RiverBills.com Girls will be selling chances for the "Great Ball Splash and Grab" raffle. See rules below.

About 4 PM the "Great Ball Splash and Grab" happens!

After the Great Ball Splash and Grab is finished I need the balls back for the next year. Our guests have a unique way of returning them!

 

We welcome everyone, boaters and non boaters, to come out for what will surely be a fun way to help us continue this great river tradition.

Benefit for the Blessing of the Fleet raffle rules: The "Great Ball Splash and Grab" explained. well, sort of, anyway, here goes. When you buy a chance in the Great Ball Splash and Grab you will be given a wristband. Out of all the rubber balls a number of them equal to the number of prizes will be given a number ranking them as 1 thru whatever (the rubber balls already have numbers). The total number of rubber balls thrown into the pool will equal the number of chances taken. You can buy as many chances as you want at $10 per chance and will be given a wrist band for each one. When the time comes everyone will be asked to get out of the pool. At that time all of the rubber balls will be thrown in and then the signal will be given for everyone with a wrist band, or their designated "Ball Grabber" will jump into the pool and grab a ball for each entry they have. Once all the balls have been claimed the winning numbers will be called and the winners can come up and claim their prize. Simple enough right? Organized chaos? Right again! Much more fun than looking at numbers on a paper ticket (we hope).

 

BLESSING OF THE FLEET 2016 UPDATE:

This will be the 59th Annual Parade of Boats

DATE WILL BE SATURDAY AUGUST 20TH, 2016

THEME THIS YEAR WILL BE "YOUR FAVORITE SPORT"

BENEFIT FOR THE BLESSING WILL BE SATURDAY JULY 16TH AT GRAFTON HARBOR

Moving the date from the 3rd Saturday in July to the 3rd Saturday in August was done to hopefully avoid having to postpone it due to high water thus allowing all concerned to better plan for it. The Your Favorite Sport theme is only limited by your imagination, any kind of sport, sports team, basically whatever you might consider sports related. We will also have a sub theme of

"Con Trios Yacht Club 50th Anniversary"

due to that being the 2nd oldest organization, after the Blessing, on our stretch of the river and many of their members being key players in helping to keep the Blessing going. Con Trios will present an award for the Best Decorated Member's Boat.

The Blessing of the Fleet will again have a presence at the St. Louis Boat and Sportshow during the RiverBills.com night on Thursday February 25th. More information on that can be found at

www.RiverBills.com

Hope to see many of our fellow boaters that evening.

Check back for more updates.

Older updates:

Pictures have been posted from the 2015 Blessing, click on Winners tab for their pictures.
Check back for more pictures as they come in.

2015 Blessing of the Fleet pictures on www.RiverBills.com

2015 Blessing of the Fleet / Parade of Boats pictures by Maureen Weil

2015 Blessing of the Fleet / Parade of Boats pictures by RiverBills.com

Click here to check out our Facebook page for even more pictures!

 

There are many great places to view each section of the parade.Driftwood Bar and Longshots Saloon / My River Home Marina in Portage des Sioux immediately upstream from the Shrine, The Boathouse Food & Deck at North Shore Marina, Alton Marina and the Alton Riverfront park, Grafton Harbor, the Grafton Riverfront park, the Loading Dock in Grafton to name a few. Several of these locations will have entertainment, food and drink specials during and after the parade. Here's an incomplete list:

Driftwood Bar, 1670 Riverview Drive, Portage des Sioux, MO 63373

Longshot Saloon / My River Home Marina, 1545 Riverview Drive, Portage des Sioux, MO 63373
Outdoor bar and tent by their courtesy docks.

The Boathouse Food & Deck, 601 North Shore Drive, St. Charles, MO 63301
The Boathouse's large decks to view the parade.

Grafton Harbor, 215 West Water Street, Grafton, Illinois 62037

Alton Marina, 1 Henry Street, Alton, Illinois 62002

The Loading Dock Bar & Grill, 400 Front Street, Grafton, Illinois 62037

Contributors page

Click HERE or on the press release below for an Adobe Acrobat pdf file for download and printing.


Poster printing courtesy of Stolze Printing

Website design and hosting compliments of CaptainWeil Computer Services LLC

The Benefit for the Blessing of the Fleet will be at Grafton Harbor on Saturday July 16th, 2016

The world famous "D" Dock DJs will be playing the tunes poolside.

D Dock DJs

1:30 to 3:30 the RiverBills.com Girls will be selling chances for the "Great Ball Splash and Grab" raffle. See rules below.

RiverBills Girls

About 4 PM the "Great Ball Splash and Grab" happens!

After the Great Ball Splash and Grab is finished I need the balls back for the next year. Our guests have a unique way of returning them!

 

We welcome everyone, boaters and non boaters, to come out for what will surely be a fun way to help us continue this great river tradition.

Benefit for the Blessing of the Fleet raffle rules: The "Great Ball Splash and Grab" explained. well, sort of, anyway, here goes. When you buy a chance in the Great Ball Splash and Grab you will be given a wristband. Out of all the rubber balls a number of them equal to the number of prizes will be given a number ranking them as 1 thru whatever (the rubber balls already have numbers). The total number of rubber balls thrown into the pool will equal the number of chances taken. You can buy as many chances as you want at $10 per chance and will be given a wrist band for each one. When the time comes everyone will be asked to get out of the pool. At that time all of the rubber balls will be thrown in and then the signal will be given for everyone with a wrist band, or their designated "Ball Grabber" will jump into the pool and grab a ball for each entry they have. Once all the balls have been claimed the winning numbers will be called and the winners can come up and claim their prize. Simple enough right? Organized chaos? Right again! Much more fun than looking at numbers on a paper ticket (we hope).

BLESSING OF THE FLEET AND PARADE OF BOATS

DATE: SATURDAY, AUGUST 20TH, 2016

THEME: "YOUR FAVORITE SPORT"

A SUB THEME IS "CON TRIOS YACHT CLUB 50TH ANNIVERSARY"

PARADE STARTING POINTS:

1:00 PM Yacht Club of St. Louis lead by Captain Dutch Hauhe in the cruiser "Scoundrel"

1:00 PM Alton Marina lead by Captain John Bloch in the cruiser "Audy B II"

2:15 PM Blessing Commences at Shrine of Our Lady of the Rivers

CELEBRANT:

Reverend Robert L. Banken - St. Francis of Assisi Parish

JUDGES:

Craig Tredway - Commodore of Con Trios Yacht Club
Barbara Rhoades - United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
Bill Kelley - Webmaster of www.RiverBills.com
Mark Adams - President, St. Louis Boat & Sportshow

Awards presentation immediately after the Parade at the LaRosa Cabana Bar in front of My River Home Marina.

Decorate YOUR BOAT and JOIN US!

VIEWING THE PARADE FROM LAND

Non boating spectators are invited to watch from the Shrine, Driftwood Bar and neighboring Mike's LaRosa Cabana Bar / My River Home Marina where courtesy boat docks are available. Driftwood Bar and Longshot Saloon will both have food and drink available. They are within walking distance of each other so you can enjoy a full day of fun on the river. Other locations to watch the parade pass by are The Boathouse Food & Deck. Duck Club Yacht Club, Grafton Harbor, Loading Dock, Alton Marina

PARADE ROUTE:

The "Upper Pool" Parade of Boats lead by Captain Dutch Hauhe in the "Follow Me" boat "Scoundrel" will begin at 1 PM in front of Yacht Club of St. Louis heading downstream.

The "Lower Pool" Parade of Boats heading upstream will be lead by Captain John Bloch in the "Follow Me" boat "Audy B II" will begin at 1 PM in front of Alton Marina by the Alton Bridge heading upstream.

Both of these parades will merge just below the Statue with the Antique and Classic Boat group and will pass the Shrine for the Blessing at 2:15 PM.

As always, boaters are invited to join the parades anywhere along
the routes and pass the Shrine for a Blessing with the others.

 

Awards

Blessing of the Fleet Inc. will have multiple awards.

Con Trios Yacht Club will have a "Best Decorated Member's Boat" award.

St. Louis Boat & Sportshow will have an award.

 

 

2016 Winners, theme was "Your Favorite Sport"
Click on thumbnail to view / download larger pic.

Judges Choice Winner, "The Shark"  
Judges Choice Winner, "Sea Grace"  
Judge Choice Winner, black Crownline (no name)  
Judges Choice Winner, "Bazinga"  
Judges Choice Winner, "River Rats"  
Con Trios Yacht Club Winner, "Good Life"  
St. Louis Boat & Sportshow Winner, Duck Dynasty theme  

2015 Winners

I passed out and had to go to the hospital as the parade ended so neither I nor Maureen were on site for the awards.
Am attempting to obtain good pictures of the boats and crews, please bear with me. Darryll Weil

2015 Cruiser - Sea Grace (no picture yet)
Sailboat - Saint Somewhere (no picture yet) Sailboat - Saint Somewhere (no crew picture yet)
Houseboat - It's About Time (no picture yet) Houseboat - It's About Time (no crew picture yet)

Willpower also won the Con Trios Yacht Club award.

2015 Judge Choice (no crew picture yet)

Willpower also won the Con Trios Yacht Club award.

Orion partial crew photo

 

2013 Winners
Click on a picture to see a larger version

Cruiser

"The Shark"
Cruiser Crew

"The Shark"
Houseboat

"Sea Hag"
 
Pontoon Boat

"Attack of the Tooner Sharks"
Pontoon Crew

"Attack of the Tooner Sharks"
Runabout
Runabout from Port Charles
 
Sailboat

"Tranquility Base"
 
Judges Choice

"Oh Yeah"
 

Judges Choice

"Ora Lea"

 
Judges Choice

"Sound of Pleasure"
Judges Choice Crew

"Sound of Pleasure"
Con Trios Yacht Club Member

"The Shark"
Con Trios Yacht Club Member Crew

"The Shark"

2012 Winners
Click on a picture to see a larger version.

Storm Treasure
Cruiser - "Storm Treasure"
crew
Captain Royce LaMarr & crew
runabout
Runabout - "The Shark"

crew
Captain Greg Colletta & crew

houseboat
Houseboat - "Sea Hag"

Captain Jay Adams & crew (photo not available)
Pontoon
Pontoon
crew
Captain Brian Kickline
Sailboat
Sailboat - "Saint Somewhere"
crew
Captain Tyler Mitchell & crew

After the Blessing of the Fleet awards were given it was brought to our attention that one of the boats may have been misclassified as the side profile appeared to be one type of vessel but when the pictures were looked at it should have been in a different category. The other boat in that category will be recognized with an award and is congratulated on their decorating effort. We will try to avoid this in the future even if it means having to readjust the categories. The Blessing of the Fleet committee Thanks all participants and is already looking forward to next year.

Congratulations to A. J. and Toni Grapenthin and the crew of "Good Problems"!
Great Job decorating guys.


Runabout - "Good Problems"

Captain A. J. Grapenthin & crew

2011 Winners
Click on a picture to see a larger version.

Storm Treasure
Storm Treasure
Cruiser Category
Storm Treasure
Sandy M  
Houseboat Category
Sandy M
Ginger Bell  
Pontoon Category
Ginger Bell
The Shark The Shark
Runabout Category
The Shark
Gypsy Rose II  
Sailboat Category
Gypsy Rose II
Storm Treasure Storm Treasure crew
Con Trios Yacht Club
Storm Treasure

2010 Winners
Click on a picture to see a larger version.
Thanks to Pat Reid of Crystal Photography for the pictures.
To see all the pictures Pat took click HERE.

Cruiser cruiser
Cruiser category Winner
houseboat houseboat
Houseboat category Winner and Best In Show Winner
pontoon pontoon
Pontoon category Winner
runabout runabout
Runabout category Winner
sailboat sailboat
Sailboat category Winner
con trios winner crew
Con Trios Yacht Club Winner

2009 Winners:

Theme: "Luau"

Best Decorated Cruiser: "Storm Treasure" Royce and Gayle LaMarr

Best Decorated Houseboat: "Aquatraz" Dave and Karen Wilmouth

Best Decorated Sailboat: "Insatiable" Harry Stoner

Best Decorated Pontoon: "June" June Polster

Best Decorated Runabout: "Summertime" John Spraul

Best Decoarated Upstream Boat: "Aquatraz" Dave and Karen Wilmouth

2008 Winners:

Theme: "Margaritaville"

The Best Decorated Cruiser award was "Night-N-Gale"

The Best Decorated Houseboat was "Aquatraz"

The Best Decorated Sailboat was the "Kontaloa"

Best Decorated Pontoon Boat was "Misbehavior"

The Best Decorated Runabout had no name

Best Decorated Con Trios Yacht Club member boat was "Sound of Pleasure"

2007 Winners: 

Theme:  Toast Our Golden Anniversary!

Acrylic Commemorative Trophies Provided by Blessing of the Fleet, Inc.

 FIVE CATEGORIES AWARDED FOR BEST DECORATED TO THE THEME

CRUISER CATEGORY: Edward and Rosemary Bialecke, “GRIFFIN”

  HOUSEBOAT CATEGORY: Alan Deutschmann, “SOUND OF PLEASURE”

   RUNABOUT CATEGORY: Glen and Darlene Hartman, “DARLENE”

  SAILBOAT CATEGORY: Don and Mary Ellen Morrison, “RAGTIME”

  PONTOON/DECKBOAT: Alan Bull, “ODYSSEY”

 AWARDS BASED ON BEST DECORATED TO THE YEAR’S SELECTED THEME
AS JUDGED BY THIS YEARS PANEL OF BLESSING OF THE FEET JUDGES.

  THE GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION JUDGES:
James A. Svoboda, Past Commodore, Con Trios Yacht Club
Mark D. Warner, Mayor, Portage Des Sioux, MO
Harry T. Bussmann, III, Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine Committee

 THREE CASH AWARD PRIZES
DONATED BY “SHOW ME THE MISSISSIPPI”

 BEST OVERALL ENTRY IN SHOW WINNER – Check in the Amount of $500.00

 FIRST PLACE PRESENTED TO:  Alan Deutschmann, “Sound of Pleasure”

 SECOND PLACE – CHECK IN THE AMOUNT OF $300.00

 PRESENTED TO: Tom and Mary Lou Smith, “FarNeite II”

THIRD PLACE – CHECK IN THE AMOUNT OF $ 200.00

 PRESENTED TO:  Owners Unknown, “Playen II”

 Judges for Show Me the Mississippi – Cash Awards – Were Linda Sanchez, President of Show Me the Mississippi and Several Members Selected from this years “Show Me”, Membership.

  SPECIAL CORPORATE SPONSORED AWARDS
 (These Awards were Judged by and Sponsored by Each Respective Company Owner and or their Representative.)

SEA RAY WINNER – Best Decorated Sea Ray
 Sponsored By:  MarineMax, St Charles, MO

 Winners:  Dee Berkley, “Some Day Came”, 26’ Sea Ray Sundancer

 GIBSON HOUSEBOAT WINNER – Best Decorated Gibson Houseboat 
Sponsored by Wahoo Sales and Service, St. Charles, MO 

Winners:  Tom and Nancy Meyers, “Sparky”

 REGAL – Best Decorated Regal 
Sponsored by Dan’s Boats, St. Peters, MO 

Winners:  Jason and Louise Haldiman, "We-Z-Goin’ Wild”

  CON TRIOS YACHT CLUB WINNER

Best Decorated CTYC Member Entry in Parade :  Alan Deutschmann, “Sound of Pleasure”

From the St. Charles area take Highway 94 North about 12.5 miles north of Interstate 370 to Highway J.

From North St. Louis County and Illinois take Highway 94 about 9 miles West from Highway 67 to Highway J.

For GPS directions use the address: 1670 Riverview Drive, Portage des Sioux, MO 63373

Portage des Sioux MO

Picture Galleries from previous years, all albums will open in a new window.

2016 Blessing photos by Maureen Weil

2016 Blessing photos by Lisa Hickey

2016 Blessing of the Fleet yard signs

2016 Benefit for the Blessing photos by Lisa Hickey

2016 Benefit for the Blessing photos by Maureen Weil

2015 Blessing of the Fleet pictures on www.RiverBills.com

2015 Blessing of the Fleet / Parade of Boats pictures by Maureen Weil

2015 Blessing of the Fleet / Parade of Boats pictues by RiverBills.com

Blast from the Past! Click here for some pics and documents from the 2001 Blessing Parade courtesy of Rita English.

Blessing of the Fleet / Parade of Boats pictures by Lisa Hickey and Maureen Absolon

Benefit for the Blessing of the Fleet 2014 photos by Lisa Hickey

Some random pictures of the volunteers at the 2013 Blessing of the Fleet

Hand made model of the Blessing of the Fleet by Glenn Folkerts

Click here to see all the pictures

2013 Blessing of the Fleet photos by Sherry Lorance

2013 Blessing of the Fleet photos by Bob White

2013 Blessing of the Fleet photos by Lisa Hickey

2013 Blessing of the Fleet photos by Bob White, Tom Stolze and Maureen

2013 Benefit photos by Lisa Hickey

2013 Benefit photos by Maureen and video by Mary Beth

2012 Blessing of the Fleet photos by Maureen

2012 Benefit for the Blessing of the Fleet at The Boathouse

2011 Blessing of the Fleet aerial pictures courtesy of Mike and Sherri Stanczak

2011 Blessing of the Fleet pictures on Lisa Hickey's facebook page
you need to be a member of facebook and logged on to view Lisa's album

2011 Blessing of the Fleet photos by Tom Stolze.
Tom also broadcast the parade live on the internet via his website http://ofallonweather.org/

2011 Pictures by Maureen aboard the Follow Me boat "Scoundrel"

2010 Pictures by Lisa Hickey aboard the "Texas Lady"

2010 Pictures by Sharon from the Follow Me boat "Scoundrel"

2010 pictures by Pat Reid of Crystal Photography

"Gypsy Rose" Pirate Ship

Historical Photos Courtesy of Rick Estes

2008 photos courtesy of Darryll Weil

2007 photos courtesy of Mike and Sherri Stanczak

2007 photos courtesy of Lynn Tighe

2007 photos courtesy of Darryll and Maureen

2006 photos courtesy of Tim and Lynn Tighe

2005 photos courtesy of Tim and Lynn Tighe

2004 photos courtesy of Darryll Weil

2004 photos courtesy of Tim and Lynn Tighe

2003 photos courtesy of Tim and Lynn Tighe

HISTORY OF THE BLESSING OF THE FLEET, INC. We are proud to announce that The Blessing of the Fleet, Inc., an organization whose purpose is to promote safe boating, will be celebrating their 59TH Annual Parade of Boats on Saturday, August 20th, 2016.

The Blessing of the Fleet, Inc. is responsible for organizing an annual event on the river rich in tradition, The Blessing of the Fleet and Parade of Boats. This event is held on a mid-summer afternoon on the Mississippi River between Mel Price Lock and Dam in Alton, Illinois and the Winfield Lock and Dam, Missouri.

The Shrine of Our Lady of the Rivers in Portage des Sioux is the actual site of the ceremony and gets her name from the fact that three major rivers - the Illinois, the Missouri and the Mississippi - all meet within a few miles of the statue. The first pleasure Boat Blessing materialized as a result of a flood that threatened Portage des Sioux in the early 1950’s. The towns’ parish, headed by Rev. Edward Schlattmann, prayed together to the Virgin Mary for the town of Portage des Sioux to be spared from the perils of the raising waters. They together coined a name for the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of the Rivers. As history records, the flooding waters parted and traveled just above and below the river town without entering it. To pay tribute to their Lady, the town people and parishioners, Schlattmann and local businessmen and local boatmen formulated plans for the first religious fiberglass statue.

Eventually the 25’ Statue of Our Lady of the Rivers and a 25’ Base were erected at the site of Portage des Sioux. It remains today as the fourth tallest statue of Mary in the world. Over the years it has served as a navigation aid for the area and the podium from which the annual Blessing of the Fleet takes place. As each vessel approaches the base of the Shrine and slows to idle speed a blessing is bestowed as they pass imploring heaven to protect and bless them in these waters. This tradition has proven to be the highlight of the areas boating season and each year attracts hundreds of participating decorated pleasure craft, as well as, spectators to the area. Together they display an exquisitely executed celebration of the season, exhibiting a long inspired passion for boating and relating knowledge of history.

Participants compete for awards in specific categories by decorating to a designated theme for each year and are invited to gather following the parade and blessing for a fun and festive awards ceremony held at a local area marina.

The Blessing of the Fleet works in conjunction with area marinas, harbors, various related area businesses, as well as civic and local organizations and has the cooperation of the Orchard Farm Fire Protection District, Rivers Point Fire Protection District, U.S. Coast Guard and U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the U.S. Power Squadron, Missouri Water Patrol, and Our Lady of the Rivers Shrine Committee of Portage des Sioux, Mo.

To all past and present officers and committee members of the Blessing of the Fleet, Inc. who have dedicated their time and talents over the past sixty years to preserve and maintain this tradition, we are honored to congratulate you on achieving this 60th Anniversary of formation of the Blessing of the Fleet. (Historical note: Due to the Blessing being cancelled due to the Flooding in 1993 there is a year difference in Anniversay of the organization and actual Blessings). To generations yet unborn, The Shrine and this Annual Tradition will together serve as a symbol of our generations appreciation of the nautical sensibility and natural beauty of this area where three rivers meet near the site of the Statue of Our Lady of the Rivers, Portage des Sioux.

Congratulations Blessing of the Fleet, Inc. on these Accomplishments

Year
Theme
1982
25th Anniversary of the Blessing of the Fleet
1983
 
1984
Something Golden (To Celebrate Father Schlattmann's Golden Jubilee as a Priest)
1985
Mark Twain's 150th Anniversary Celebration
1986
Miss Liberty (In honor of the torch re-lighting ceremony after the two year renovation)
1987
The Founding of Portage des Sioux (Founded in 1799)
1988
Use Your Imagination
1989
Around the World (The Country of your choice)
1990
Holiday Celebration
1991
Circus
1992
500 Years of History (Celebrating Columbus' Discovery)
1993
Canceled due to flooding
1994
Your Favorite Sport
1995
Let's Just Decorate
1996
Our Lady of the River Shrine - 40 Years on the Mississippi
1997
Parade of Nations
1998
Dixieland
1999
Red, White and Blue for Portage des Sioux
2000
Highlights of the 20th Century
2001
Your Favorite Nursery Rhymes
2002
God Bless America
2003
Music and All That Jazz
2004
Lewis and Clark
2005
You Decorate and We'll Judge
2006
Vacation Fun under the St. Louis Sun
2007
Toast Our Golden Anniversary (50th annual parade)
2008
Margaritaville
2009
Luau
2010
Pirates
2011
Mermaids
2012
Mark Twain
2013
Sharks
2014
Noah's Ark
2015
Gilligan's Island

Board Meeting April 2013

2016 Board of Directors

Darryll Weil

Alan Deutschmann

Charles Aten

Marilyn Aten

Craig Tredway

John Bloch

Dutch Hauhe

Andy Dalwitz

Rick Flier

Caryl Kastendieck

Karlan Kastendieck

Contact Information

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