Algoma hosts 'Blessing of the Fleet' event

(WLUK/Gabrielle Mays)

ALGOMA (WLUK) -- From music to food, dozens of people enjoyed a cool evening by the water for Algoma's "Blessing of the Fleet" event.

The goal of the event was to usher in a safe fishing season.

As boats headed on to Lake Michigan, a pastor performed the blessing. People along the shoreline snapped photos of the event.

"I thought it was a great idea. This port has been long known for its fishing," said Mike Zettel.

He grew up in Algoma.

"When I was a little boy, I worked on the commercial boats and learned a lot about life being out in water in winter and summer heat," he said.

Zettel didn't want to miss the city's "Blessing of the Fleet" ceremony.

"It's an old Mediterranean fishing tradition at many ports across the both the western/eastern seaboard all the way back over to the Mediterranean to start their season. It's for the safety of their crew and the fleet having a bountiful fishing season," said Troy Mattson.

He came up with the idea. Mattson wanted to celebrate the city and also use the event as a way to commemorate the hard work from local firefighters after a marina fire damaged several of his boats two years ago.

"It was a blur. Obviously, there were a lot of things going on but we're moving past it," Mattson said.

He's thankful no one was hurt in the fire and can't help but be grateful for the quick response from Algoma firefighters.

"Their reactions, you know, saving many of our crewman's lives. A lot of the boats that were saved that night as well and just the community in general coming together," Mattson said.

That sense of community, is something Sara Krouse the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce's executive director sees on a regular basis.

"There's a big focus of communication here, working together between different groups and this is just another example, this evening is just another example of that," she said.

As the fleet headed underneath a temporary archway, the community and those who helped put on the event hope it continues for many years to come.

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