More than 200 people gathered at Fishermen’s Terminal for the annual Blessing of the Fleet, conducted by Ballard’s First Lutheran Church for the 80th straight year. The event marks the beginning of the halibut fishing season. Congressman Jim McDermott and Mayor Greg Nickels were among the VIPs in attendance.
Next to the Fishermen’s Memorial, Rev. Erik Wilson Weiberg prayed for the safety of fishing crews on the high seas.
The Rev. Malcolm Unseth blessed the captain and crew of the boat, Anita.
Anita’s Captain Paul Matson raises the symbolic flag. Interestingly, Rev. Weiberg said that the First Lutheran Church board considered earlier this year discontinuing the service due to dwindling participation. After all, Ballard is changing and fewer fishermen and their families attend the church (or live in town, for that matter). This was our first time at the Blessing of the Fleet, and we’re glad the church decided to keep in the tradition alive.