Sydney Fish Market will celebrate the annual Blessing of the Fleet festivities on Sunday 23rd September, with tourists and locals joining Sydney’s fishing community.
The ceremony blesses fishing vessels and their crew, in a Catholic tradition originating in the Mediterranean. The event holds cultural significance for the Italian and Sydney fishing community, to ensure a successful fishing season and a safe voyage home.
The event will feature the procession of the Madonna – a replica statue of the Santa Maria Di Porto Salvo, the guardian of Safe Ports or Safe Harbour. The statue is taken around the site to the market wharf for blessings. The ‘Shirley Smith’, a tug boat from the Port Authority of New South Wales, will return to the festivities and form part of the fleet.
The celebration will also include live entertainment including DJ and percussion fusion, The Sincopa Trio, as well as free face painting and a spaghetti-eating competition. Stalls from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Maritime Safety Authority and UrbanGrowth NSW Development Corporation will be present, as well as a fishing display by the Professional Fisherman’s Association and OceanWatch Australia.
“This celebration is very special to us and we enjoy being able to invite people into our community to experience the work of our local fishers,” said local fisherman Paul Bagnato. “The fishing industry has significant history in Sydney and I’m looking forward to once again coming together as a city to celebrate it.”
The Blessing of the Fleet event also marks the only day of the year that Sydney Fish Market opens its Blackwattle Bay wharf to the public.