As spring starts arriving on the coast of Georgia, the little fishing village of Darien readies itself for the annual three-day Blessing of the Fleet Festival on the weekend of April 1–3, which historically attracts 35,000 visitors when the weather cooperates.
The 43rd annual festival will feature food vendors, craft vendors, a classic car show and a juried art show. There will be a 5K run/walk, street parade, Marine parade and numerous live performances at two entertainment venues.
Activities begin at 5 p.m. April 1 and will include arts-and-crafts booths, plenty of food and dancing-on-the-lawn music. Georgia-born song writer/singer Rhett Atkins will perform at 7 p.m. April 1 at the Darien Waterfront Park.
Art In The Park, a two-day juried art event that draws artistic talent from across the Southeast, runs from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 2-3 in Vernon Square, just a few steps from the waterfront. Works of art will include paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings and fine crafts (fiber art, pottery, jewelry and stained glass).
Saxophonist Michael Hulett will perform from 2-4 p.m. April 2 and 12:30-2:30 p.m. April 3 at the Art In The Park venue. Lawn chairs are welcome.
The vendor booths and activities will continue at 10 a.m. April 2 and remain open until 10 p.m. Other activities April 2 include the 5-K river run/walk at 8 a.m., the street parade with a military and Scottish color guard and Ronald McDonald appearance at 10 a.m. and the annual classic car show from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Tams and The 14 Karate Gold Band will perform at 7 p.m. on the Waterfront Stage, followed by a fireworks display at 9 p.m.
Activities on April 3 will open at 10 a.m. with vendor booths and Art In The Park. At 11 a.m., visitors can listen to religious rock and soul music on the Waterfront Park Stage.
Also April 3, there will be a parade of shrimp trawlers, each approaching the Darien Bridge to obtain a blessing for the coming year of fishing, beginning at 2 p.m. Flags and banners will wave while people cheer and diesel engines rumble.
Awards will be announced at 4 p.m. with closing remarks and photo opportunities.
Admission on Friday and Saturday is $5 for visitors 13 and older. Children 12 and younger will be admitted free with a paying adult. There is no admission charge for Sunday’s events. Go to the web site at www.BlessingoftheFleet.com or call (912) 437-6684 for more information.