Blessing of the Fleet in Maryland in April

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Celebrate the beginning of this year's boating season by joining the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum for its annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony. The April 14 ceremony begins at 5 p.m. near the boatyard, inviting the public to honor the working vessels and pleasure craft of the Chesapeake Bay, including the museum's floating fleet. Prayers will be offered to boaters for a safe and bountiful season, and also for those mariners whose lives have been lost at sea.

Easton High School's NJROTC will begin the ceremony with a presentation of the colors, followed by the Star Spangled Banner and Navy Hymn. The blessing will be performed by the Reverend Kevin M. Cross of The Church of the Holy Trinity in Oxford, Md.

At this year's event, a special blessing will be given for the 1889 log-bottom bugeye, Edna E. Lockwood. A registered National Historic Landmark, Edna represents the last remaining log-bottom bugeye still under sail and is considered the queen of the museum's fleet of historic Chesapeake vessels.

The event is free and open to the public, with a reception following, offering light refreshments and live music with a Chesapeake theme from the Royal Oak Musicians. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved into the museum's Small Boat Shed.

"The Blessing of the Fleet is a terrific way to kick off the season for both boaters and the museum alike," museum president Kristen Greenaway said. "Our campus starts to fill up in April, with a wide range of activities and projects for guests to engage in. Also, it's my hope that we'll be able to share a major announcement at the Blessing, regarding funding for one of our boat restoration projects."

Boaters are invited to bring their vessels to the ceremony, with marina reservations made by contacting guest services manager Ed Rowe at erowe@cbmm.org or at 410-745-4981. For information, visit www.cbmm.org.