ONSET — The annual Blessing of the Fleet returned for the fourth straight year Saturday, marking the official beginning of summer and the Fourth of July weekend.
Some 45 pleasure boats of all descriptions passed by the reviewing stand where the Rev. Antonio da Silva of St. Patrick’s Church offered the benediction, complete with holy water. A Knights of Columbus color guard stood watch on the reviewing stand, a sign of the Catholic nature of the proceedings.
A crowd of about 120 people pressed forward to get a good look at the boats, most of which were lavishly decorated in red, white and blue.
Former Deputy Harbormaster Master of Ceremonies Mike Fawcett, pressed into service just two days prior, kept up a running commentary and description of every one of the 45 boats in the parade. “I took a course at Toastmasters to get over my stage fright,” he said.
The weather on this July day was cool and damp with a breeze that suited the event perfectly, with no one baking in the open sun. Rev. da Silva was assisted in his duties by Daliza Cardosa, an Onset resident.
Kat Jones, a local musician and president of the Onset Bay Association, which sponsored the event, delivered a forceful Star Spangled Banner.
Michael Gabriel of Dennis performed for hours on his steel drum, setting the relaxed mood for the morning. The Junior Color Guard also performed, and following the blessing and boat parade there were a bike parade, a pet parade, and a baby carriage parade.
While traffic backed up for miles on Route 25 leading to the Bourne Bridge, there was little congestion in Onset. But the village restaurants were busy and people were enjoying a low-key day that was to be capped by fireworks Saturday evening.
The first place winner in the boat parade was the 30-foot Aqua Sport Overbudget, with Capt. Trenton Blanchard.
Second place went to Chad Crittenden of the Valhalla, a 30-foot Luhrs.
In third was Rich McBrine of the Trust Me, a 17-foot Trophy.
Follow Steve Urbon on Twitter @SteveUrbonSCT.