Blessing of the Fleet in Darien, Ga.

It is for Holly Boone.

Her husband, Greg, his father, grandfather, uncles and cousins have made their livings by shrimping in the coastal Georgia waters. That is why this Sunday’s Blessing of the Fleet at the Darien waterfront is so meaningful to her.

“It’s much more than a festival to my family. It marks the beginning of shrimping season,” she said.

“On Sunday, the whole county and more gather to watch as our boats are blessed, by asking God to first watch over our loved ones while they are on the ocean, and, second, for a bountiful harvest.”

The three days of festivities that begin Friday draw plenty of people for arts and crafts, live music and a parade.

But for shrimping families like Boone’s, the main event – the blessing of the boats – is the most poignant. That is when a clergyman prays over the boats assembled near a bridge over the Darien River.

“The best memories are made on Sunday. We usually have a huge group to fill the boat for hotdogs and a ride down the river. Friends, family and even a few strangers that just ask to ride. It means a lot to spend the time together.

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