Fremantle Blessing of the Fleet Festival
Sunday 29 October 2017 - starts 2pm
The Blessing of the Fleet was first celebrated in Fremantle in 1948, by fisherman from Molfetta, Italy, to worship their patron saint, the Madonna of the Martyrs.
In 1950 a Madonna of the Martyrs statue was commissioned locally and joined the annual procession down to the harbour to bless the fishing fleet. The Madonna di Capo d’Orlando was gifted in 1952 to Fremantle fisherman originally from the Sicilian town of Capo d’Orlando, and as the tradition grew fisherman from the Portuguese and Croatian communities also became involved.
The parade is a drawcard for tourists, visitors to Fremantle and locals alike, who are able to experience this unique tradition, along with the colourful pageantry of the day.
Starting at 2pm, the parade begins at St Patrick's Basilica on Adelaide Street, before making its way through the crowd-lined streets to the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour where the statues are loaded onto fishing boats and taken around the harbour while a ceremony is performed to bless the fleet for the coming fishing season.
The parade then returns to St Patrick's around 4pm.
A spectacular fireworks display will be held at 8pm at the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour.
An exhibition showcasing the history of the Fremantle Blessing of the Fleet, will be presented at the WA Maritime Museum, Victoria Quay, Fremantle from 14 October to 4 December.
Click on map for parade route