Create an Account - Increase your productivity, customize your experience, and engage in information you care about.
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (April 24, 2015) – The dedicated shrimpers and fishermen of Shem Creek will have their boats and crews blessed in the ceremonial boat parade at the 28th Annual Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival this Sunday, April 26, at Memorial Waterfront Park.
The ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. as the captains parade their boats by the Mount Pleasant Pier to be blessed for a safe and prosperous season by Father Len Williams of the Charleston Port & Seafarer’s Society and Rev. Gary Bullard of Mt. Pleasant Presbyterian.
“These captains and their families are an integral part of our Town’s heritage,” said Special Events Planner Nicole Harvey. “We are honored to bring the community together to thank them and highlight their essential role in keeping our plates full of delicious local wild-caught seafood.”
Started in Mount Pleasant in 1988 by the Magwood family with fellow shrimpers as a way to thank and support their community, the festival aims to educate the public about the importance of eating local, wild-caught seafood.
Despite the many challenges they face with the influx of farmed and imported seafood, these captains remain dedicated to their local community. Throughout Mount Pleasant’s history, Shem Creek has served as the epicenter of the town’s local seafood industry. Residents and visitors alike look to the creek’s commercial fishermen for the area’s best fresh shrimp, oysters, crabs and a variety of favorite fish.
Michael Cobb, captain and parade participant, knows the importance of tradition.
“Our boat was named the Family Thing because shrimping truly involves the entire family,” said Cobb. “I am a second generation shrimper and our deckhand is my son.”
Michael’s father, Larry Cobb, will also be in the parade at the helm of the Bridget.
Local shrimpers and fisherman truly are core members of the community and it is shown through their relationships. Vasa Tarvin, captain of the Miss Paula, named his boat after a Mount Pleasant educator.
“My boat is named for Paula Urbano, the teacher who introduced me to Captain Magwood and to shrimping,” said Tarvin. “It is my way of honoring an inspiring figure and the community where positive connections matter.”
Captain Wayne Magwood’s Winds of Fortune is something of a local celebrity herself, having been featured on The Amazing Race, Dirty Jobs, The Weather Channel and a video for country music singer and Mount Pleasant resident Darius Rucker.
The participating captains this year are Joel Ackerman (Sea Horse), Donnie Brown and Keith Hewitt (Lady Paige), Larry Cobb (Bridget), Michael Cobb (Family Thing), Tommy Cannon (Lady J), Wayne Magwood (Winds of Fortune), Mark Marhefka (Amy Marie), Mark David Richardson (Richardson Brothers), Mark David Richardson II (Nighthawk), and Vasa Tarvin (Miss Paula).
We regret that due to mitigating circumstances, Bubba Rector of the Warren Rector will not be able to participate this year.
To thank each shrimper and fisherman for their commitment to the community, the Town of Mount Pleasant awards each captain in the boat parade $500.
For more information on the Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival, visit ComeOnOverMP.com or Facebook.com/MountPleasantBOTF.
Pictured: Keith Hewitt, Wayne Magwood, Taylor Tarvin (Vasa’s father), Mark David Richardson II, Wray Lemke (Mount Pleasant Radio owner who helps coordinate the boat parade), Larry Cobb, Tommy Cannon and Michael Cobb