Colton’s Point, MD — The newly-formed Seventh District Optimist Club wanted to do something to shine the light on the area’s crown jewel. St. Clements Island, the site of the founding of Maryland, had shrunk to one-tenth of the size it was when the Ark and Dove ships sailed up the Potomac River in March of 1634. Something needed to be done or the island would disappear.

In the mid-1960’s the idea of honoring the area’s watermen with a celebration called Blessing of the Fleet was incubated by the new club. The festival on the grounds of the St. Clements Island Potomac River Museum and on the island itself would at the same time honor the history and culture of St. Mary’s County’s most revered place and attract attention to it.

In 1967 the crowds were small but quickly the Blessing of the Fleet grew to be one of the area’s premiere fall events. Over the years the island has been stabilized and become a state park and a replica of the former Blackistone Lighthouse was constructed through the hard work of another volunteer group, St. Clements Hundred.

This year the first day of the event on Saturday, Oct. 1 was rained out so the schedule was compressed into Sunday and a large crowd showed up as the weather finally broke and became quite pleasant.

Read the rest of the article, and see a gallery of photos from the day’s celebrations here on The Bay Net.

Papal Fiat Car Visit's Mother of Light Shrine, MD

Papal Fiat Car Visit's Mother of Light Shrine, MD

Papal Fiat Car Visit's Mother of Light Shrine, MD

Papal Fiat Car Visit's Mother of Light Shrine, MD