If you are due in to a beach house Charleston this weekend, you are in for a treat  –   a couple, actually.

It’s time to bless the fleet/eat some shrimp and celebrate the earth.

On Sunday, April 24th, it’s the 28th annual Blessing of the Fleet and Seafood Festival, taking place from 11:30 a.m. till 6:00 p.m. in Mount Pleasant.   It’s a beloved event that has grown in both size and meaning over the years.

Blessing of the Fleet

The blessing is rooted in an age-old tradition  –  common in the Mediterranean and brought to the States from Europe  –  of blessing the ships and fisherman who are heading out to sea.  Prayers are offered for their protection doing what is often a dangerous profession, as well as for a bountiful harvest.

In our case, the fishermen are shrimpers, most of whom are based out of Shem Creek.  You can easily drive there from your beach house Charleston and buy delicious local shrimp, caught that very morning.  Nothing like lounging in your Charleston beach house eating fresh shrimp that was swimming offshore just hours before.

At the festival there will be a parade of boats, many decorated.  As each boat passes the long waterfront pier, blessings and prayers to the Lord will be offered for their safety and well being.

For years the event was held at Alhambra Hall in the Old Village in Mount Pleasant, not far from our Isle of Palms vacation rentals.  But the festival grew to be too large  –  parking was a nightmare, and tents (and people) were squeezed in cheek-to-jowl.  So when the new Waterfront Park and pier were completed near the Ravenel Bridge, it proved to be the ideal location for the event.   Here you have ample room to watch the boats as they parade by the end of the pier, plenty of parking and green space for all the tents and booths.

Mount Pleasant’s scenic Memorial Waterfront Park is located at 99 Harry Hallman Jr. Blvd., just under the base of the Ravenel Bridge.  It’s a convenient drive from all our SC vacation rentals, whether you’re staying in a luxury house on Isle of Palms or one of the many beach house rentals Charleston SC out on Folly Beach.

Our local shrimpers are a hardy lot, but they’ve faced tough times, what with foreign competition, rising fuel and maintenance costs and other challenges.  This is a chance for us in the community to express our appreciation and encourage them to keep on fishin.’  This comes on the heels of the recent announcement of the new fisherman’s market in Mount Pleasant, where you can buy direct on Saturdays; read more HERE.

The fleet blessing is the core of the festival, but it’s grown into a full-fledged celebration of all things shrimp and beyond.  Admission is free.  There will be tons of tents with vendors, seafood of all sorts prepared by local restaurants, beverages for all ages, a huge arts and crafts area, kids’ activities and lots of live music,  including by the perennial favorite, the East Coast Party Band.  It’s a perfect way to feed and entertain everyone in your beach house Charleston.

Also a note to those beach house Charleston dwellers   –  shrimp-eating contest is at 4:20 p.m. on the Main Stage!  Also get set for shagging.

The event is free.  There will be free parking at Waterfront Park, but it won’t be enough as they are expecting 12,000 to 15,000 people.

you can’t break away from one of our rental homes South Carolina early to get parking close by, you may consider parking in an ancillary location.  They with be offering shuttle bus service from these places in Mount Pleasant:

East Cooper Medical Center, Mullis Building – 851 Leonard Fulghum Boulevard 
            (Handicapped accessible bus stops at ECMC only)
James B. Edwards Elementary
 – 855 Von Kolnitz Road

Moultrie Middle School/Farmers Market Pavilion – 645 Coleman Boulevard
Cheryll Woods Flowers Sports Complex – 85 Patriots Point Boulevard
Cinebarre – 963 Houston Northcutt 
            (CARTA Route 40 has a stop near this shuttle location!)

This event is very popular with locals, so you might want to get there early.  Folks bring coolers, beach chairs and blankets and make a real party out of it.  Basically, it’s kind of like what you bring down to the beach from one of Isle of Palms luxury rentals for an afternoon, except there will be less sand and more food, beverage and entertainment options.

If you decide to go, you’re in for a real taste of the Lowcountry.  It’s ranked one of the top 20 events by the Southeast Tourism Society.

As an extra bonus, the event raises funds for local charities.  This year, it benefits Camp Rise Above and Carolina Children’s Charity.

Here’s the website with more info: http://comeonovermp.com/index.aspx?NID=111   Also, they have a Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/MountPleasantBOTF

Here’s a great article about the event, which included an interview with one of the organizers:  http://www.resortsandlodges.com/travelblog/b/blessing-of-the-fleet-amp-seafood-festival/

Here’s another overview of the event:  http://discoversouthcarolina.com/products/27040

earth day logo

So that’s happening on Sunday.  Saturday there’s another fun option —  it’s Charleston’s 17th annual celebration or our planet, the Earth Day Festival.

This year’s theme is: “Be Earth Smart.”

At this year’s festival, you’ll find:

  • Tips on helping our planet
  • Scientific experiments
  • Kids activities galore, including a huge Kids Zone
  • Hands-on learning experiences
  • Find out more about clean energy, local & organic agriculture, composting (get free compost and seedlings!), recycling, conservation, litter control & pick-up, etc.
  • Lots of live music and performances
  • Birds of Prey demos
  • Pet Helpers
  • Art Contest
  • Face painting, etc.

The event is free, and food/beverages from several popular local food trucks will be available for purchase.  It’s going on from 11:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. tomorrow —  Saturday, April 23rd, at Riverfront Park, 1001 Everglades Avenue, North Charleston.  It’s expected to draw about 8,000 people, so you are encouraged to carpool (or bike, or take public transit  –   yet another way to help our earth).

Here’s the website:  http://www.charlestoncounty.org/departments/environmental-management/earthday.php

And here’s the event’s FB page: https://www.facebook.com/events/488460144695889/


And as always, when you are looking for the perfect beach house Charleston, remember to call EP.  We have the very best selection of luxury beach house rentals SC.

All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger