Thursday, October 1, 2020

Blessing of the Fleet Draws Crowd

Photos by Scott Shook Everglades City children prepare flower petals for the blessing of the stone crab fleet. Top to bottom: Katie Collins, Taylor  Dahlke, Gena Collins, James Collins, Holden Fitzgerald, Brenden Bagley Jr., and Turner Shealy.

Photos by Scott Shook Everglades City children prepare flower petals for the blessing of the stone crab fleet. Top to bottom: Katie Collins, Taylor Dahlke, Gena Collins, James Collins, Holden Fitzgerald, Brenden Bagley Jr., and Turner Shealy.

By Scott Shook

The annual Blessing of the Stone Crab Fleet in Everglades City is Americana at its best—an example of what makes Everglades City such a tight-knit community.

Politicians, including U.S. Rep Mario Diaz-Balart and Collier County Commission hopeful Tamara Paquette were on hand on Saturday, October 8th for this year’s event, and added to the festive atmosphere.

Children and grandchildren of the fishing village’s elders worked happily plucking flower petals on the back steps of the venerable Rod and Gun Club, a lodge with a

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart at the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City for theblessing of the stone crab fleet.

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart at the Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City for theblessing of the stone crab fleet.

history that dates back to the 1870s. Later in the morning they spread the petals along the docks on the Barron River, where the stone crab fleet greeted their well-wishers.

The town of 400 proudly calls themselves the Stone Crab Capital of the World.

Among the events enjoyed by the crowd were a frog jumping contest, a coconut guava cake contest (with the winner receiving a beautiful blue ribbon), and of course, the blessing of the fleet by local pastors.

Stone crabbing season is open from October 15-May 15.

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