A parade of boats will participate in the Blessing of the Fleet on the Mississippi River this Saturday. The blessing originated in the 1950's when a flood threatened Portage des Sioux, Missouri. The towns’ Catholic parish prayed together to the Virgin Mary for the town to be spared, and the flooding waters parted and traveled just above and below the river town without entering it.
Over the years, the statue has served as a navigation aid for the area and the podium from which the annual Blessing of the Fleet takes place. As each boat approaches the base of the Shrine, it slows and receives a blessing. Darryll Weil, event spokesman, says the event drew about 200 participants last year.
The boats will begin their journey toward the statue at 1pm, with the actual blessings to begin around 2:15. Following the blessing, the River Road Renegades Show Team will be putting on an hour long Ski Show in front of Palisades Yacht Club and Longshots Saloon on the Missouri side of the river.