As it has happened for decades, the annual Blessing of the Fleet in Berwick Bay took place late Sunday morning on the public dock on Front Street.
“The tradition has been for 77 years to thank God for the resources of seafood and later the oil industry,” said the Rev. Danny Poche, pastor at Holy Cross Church in Morgan City.
“It’s a good tradition that the Shrimp and Petroleum Festival recognizes the fact that we need to give thanks to God because God is the source of everything,” he said.
Poche said that he is glad to do the blessing and looks forward to it in the years that he has done it.
Chloe Felterman was the queen of this year’s festivities.
“It’s so much fun, and I’m just really happy that they decided to pick me,” she said.
Felterman said that her family has a tradition in the festival, that her grandfather Ernest Felterman was king in 1968.
“It means the world to me because a lot of my family members were in it,” she said.
She was not able to climb to the top of the ladder of the Dixie for the toast.
“I was so excited, and then I looked down and I chickened out, but it was fun,” Felterman said.
King Joe Sanford said that he was honored to be selected as king.
“I appreciate the fact that it’s a representation for our community and all the hard work that the oil and gas industry and the shrimp industry does,” he said.
Sanford said that experiencing the festival was very different as king as compared to just attending the festival as a normal festival-goer in years past.
“I had never attended all of the events,” he said. “You actually go to all of the events, and you don’t realize how many different events are associated with the festival, all the hard work that it takes to put this thing together, because there are car shows, gospel tents, and there are all sorts of things that I haven’t necessarily gone to every year, but this year, I got to see them all.”
Sanford said the experience as king gave him a new appreciation for the festival.