Blessing of the Fleet: A special anniversary

FREMANTLE’S iconic Blessing of the Fleet turns 70 this year; a big occasion the fleet committee has marked with the launch of a stunning history of the festa.

Written by Susanna Iuliano and Maria Amato-Gorman, Blessing of the Fleet: A History of Fremantle’s Festa beautifully captures all aspects of the celebration in a series of short and poignant vignettes.

Accompanying the text are glorious photos from the first festival in 1948, right through to today’s generation carrying the two statues of the Madonna through the streets of Fremantle last year.

There’ll be copies of the book available for purchase during the festival, which is being held on Sunday, October 28.

This year there’ll also be a new market in front of the Shipwreck Museum to keep visitors entertained and well fed during the day.

Run by former Freo councillor Georgie Adeane from 10am to 6pm, it promises to mix the fun of the Sunset Markets, the colour of the Fremantle Festival and the spectacle of the procession.

Another new initiative is an opera singer who’ll emphasise the Blessing’s religious importance by performing a rendition of Ave Maria as the Madonna statues are taken by the fisherman from the procession to be loaded onto the St Gerard and Maddalena for their tour around Fishing Boat Harbour.

The procession starts at 2pm from St Patrick’s Basilica, and the evening concludes with the traditional fireworks at 8pm.

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