See boats blessed and so much more at 50th fes­ti­val

The Enterprise - - News - Jesse Yeat­man jyeat­man@somd­ Twit­ter: @JesseEn­tNews

Water­men still troll the rivers and bay around St. Mary’s to make an honest day’s liv­ing, while shar­ing the wa­ter­ways with recre­ational boaters and fish­er­men.

All of those ves­sels — along with any­one else — are wel­come to visit St. Clement’s Is­land this week­end for the 7th Dis­trict Op­ti­mist Club’s 50th an­nual Bless­ing of the Fleet fes­ti­val.

It’s been a tra­di­tion for cen­turies here and else­where to bless work boats at the be­gin­ning of a fish­ing sea­son — in this case, oys­ter­ing opened up in the state on Oct. 2. Now, while there is still a bless­ing per­formed at the Op­ti­mist event, it has blos­somed into a fullfledged fes­ti­val with mu­sic, fire­works, chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties, shut­tle boat rides and much more.

Richard Lord of Bush­wood, who is the chair of the Op­ti­mist event, said the event was started 50 years ago at the sug­ges­tion of a lo­cal Catholic priest to bless water­men’s boats and honor the found­ing of Mary­land.

English colonists first landed in the re­gion at St. Clement’s Is­land in 1634 in search of re­li­gious free­dom and tol­er­ance.

“I find most of the peo­ple down here are still in that mode of re­li­gious free­dom and per­sonal free­dom,” Lord, who orig­i­nally hails from the Bos­ton area, said.

This week­end there will be live en­ter­tain­ment, South­ern Mary­land food, arts and crafts, wine and beer stands and chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing pup­pet shows, a rock-climb­ing wall, magic shows and pony rides.

Many of the ac­tiv­i­ties will be on the main­land through­out the day Satur­day and Sun­day, Oct. 7 and 8, around the St. Clement’s Is­land Mu­seum, which will be open for vis­i­tors.

Wa­ter taxi rides will take folks over to the is­land for more ad­ven­tures, in­clud­ing tours of the Mary­land Dove from His­toric St. Mary’s City.

Once on the is­land, vis­i­tors can tour the re­con­structed Black­i­stone Light­house and see the large white cross that stands nearby, mark­ing the site of the first Catholic Mass in the English-speak­ing colonies.

The orig­i­nal Black­i­stone Light­house, which was built in 1851, burned in a mys­te­ri­ous fire in 1956 and was de­mol­ished by the gov­ern­ment a few years later for safety rea­sons.

The St. Clement’s Hun­dred, a lo­cal com­mu­nity non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to the preser­va­tion and beau­ti­fi­ca­tion of the is­land, led a cam­paign to re­con­struct the light­house, which opened to the pub­lic in 2008.

The 7th Dis­trict Op­ti­mist Club hosts the Bless­ing of the Fleet fes­ti­val an­nu­ally to raise money for its schol­ar­ships and other civic ac­tiv­i­ties.

On Satur­day the fes­ti­val is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., though the last wa­ter taxi will leave the is­land at 6 p.m. There are five bands planned to per­form along with a host of other ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the day, con­clud­ing with a fire­works show.

To mark the 50th year, the show is billed as the fes­ti­val’s big­gest ever and will up­grade from its usual 5-inch shells to the brighter, and louder, 8-inch fire­works, Lord said.

The fes­ti­val is open Sun­day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Rev. An­thony Lick­teig, pas­tor of Holy An­gels and Sa­cred Heart churches, will cel­e­brate a Mass on Sun­day at 3 p.m., fol­lowed by a bless­ing of the boats. There are usu­ally sev­eral dozen work boats and plea­sure boats that come to be blessed.

There will also be two bands as well as a pa­rade of high school bands, pub­lic of­fi­cials, and fire and res­cue vol­un­teers the sec­ond day.

Ad­mis­sion is $10 per day, or $15 for both days, at the gate. Mil­i­tary per­son­nel (ac­tive duty and re­tired) will re­ceive half-price ad­mis­sion, and chil­dren 12 and younger are free.

For more in­for­ma­tion, in­clud­ing a com­plete sched­ule of the two days of events, visit www.blessin­gofthe­fleet­

On­line art auc­tion ben­e­fits hur­ri­cane re­lief ef­forts

An on­line art auc­tion, Artists Help­ing Hous­ton, aims to raise funds this week to help those af­fected by hur­ri­cane Har­vey in Hous­ton. Those wishing to par­tic­i­pate can place their bids on­line for any of the more than 40 works from Jeanne Nor­ton Ham­mett, Ray Bogle, MaryLou Trout­man, Car­rie Pat­ter­son, Terry Quinn, Scott Geib, JC Nordstrom, Mar­celle Fozard and oth­ers.

There are ce­ram­ics, pho­to­graphs, jew­elry and more. The auc­tion, which was or­ga­nized by Mari­beth Boeke Ganzell, opened on Mon­day and will con­tinue through 9 p.m. on Sun­day, Oct. 8.

Pro­ceeds will go to the Greater Hous­ton Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion and to place a bid, visit www.face­­con­quer­sHar­vey.

See an­tique trac­tors roam down­town in Leonard­town Oct. 8

The eighth an­nual trac­tor pa­rade spon­sored by South­ern Mary­land An­tique Power As­so­ci­a­tion will be held on Sun­day, Oct. 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. in down­town Leonard­town to ben­e­fit Christ­mas in April, St. Mary’s County.

Mem­bers of the Bal­ti­more Wash­ing­ton Chap­ter of the Amer­i­can Truck His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety will be join­ing the event. Trac­tors can meet at Leonard­town Ele­men­tary School be­fore the pa­rade to reg­is­ter for a $10 fee. For more in­for­ma­tion, call Lee Dyson at 301994-0926.

Ro­tar­i­ans do­nate ser­vice and more to food pantries

One of the top pri­or­i­ties for the Ro­tary Club of Lex­ing­ton Park dur­ing the 2017- 2018 year is to in­crease ser­vice en­gage­ment and fo­cus on mean­ing­ful projects in the lo­cal com­mu­nity. To that end, on Aug. 7 mem­bers can­celed their reg­u­lar Mon­day meet­ing to in­stead par­tic­i­pate in their first day of ser­vice in the com­mu­nity.

In an ef­fort to help lo­cal food pantries main­tain food sup­plies dur­ing the sum­mer, Ro­tar­i­ans spent the day de­liv­er­ing food to two lo­cal food pantries, St. Mary’s Car­ing soup kitchen and The Church of the As­cen­sion food pantry. Ac­cord­ing to Linda Ly­mas, pres­i­dent of the Ro­tary Club of Lex­ing­ton Park, mem­bers were able to fill many shelves with food do­na­tions, and the club’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in this day of ser­vice was a pow­er­ful pres­ence in the com­mu­nity.

“It was one way of show­ing our com­mit­ment to fo­cus on ser­vice and to im­prove the qual­ity of life for fam­i­lies in need of an ad­di­tional food sup­ply,” Ly­mas said in a re­lease.

The club’s mis­sion is to give Ro­tar­i­ans the op­por­tu­nity to serve the com­mu­nity with their skills and tal­ents, pro­mote good­will, friend­ship and peace, and ef­fec­tively pro­mote the core val­ues of Ro­tary.

Lex­ing­ton Park Ro­tar­i­ans are mak­ing plans for an­other day of ser­vice dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

Fo­rum to ad­dress roles of ed­u­ca­tion and in­no­va­tion

The South­ern Mary­land Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­ter Board of Gover­nors will host a fo­rum for com­mu­nity mem­bers to ex­plore and dis­cuss the roles of ed­u­ca­tion and in­no­va­tion in this grow­ing and chang­ing ecosys­tem.

A cen­ter­piece of the meet­ing will be the un­veil­ing of the de­sign of the new third build­ing, the USM South­ern Mary­land Re­search and Aca­demic Build­ing, to be com­pleted fall of 2020.

This all-day meet­ing will be held on Friday, Oct. 13, at the SMHEC cam­pus at 44219 Air­port Road in Cal­i­for­nia, in the cen­ter hall of Build­ing 2. This fo­rum will fo­cus on three ar­eas: the rel­e­vance of ed­u­ca­tion, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion, and the agenda can be found at

Regis­tra­tion is $25 be­fore Oct. 11, and $30 af­ter. Lunch, re­fresh­ments and all pro­gram in­for­ma­tion are in­cluded, and dress is busi­ness ca­sual. To make a reser­va­tion, visit https://sm­c­cha­m­ smhec-com­mu­nity-work­shop.

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