UA-8412995-1 The Southport Globe: Southport springs to life for parade, fleet blessing

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Southport springs to life for parade, fleet blessing

Dolores Boudreau, a former Fairfield resident, had never heard of the street parade in Southport that leads to the Blessing of the Fleet every summer."I was here for something else," Boudreau, who now lives in Trumbull, said Saturday morning by Trinity Episcopal Church on Pequot Avenue, where the parade was set to begin, led by a Fairfield police motorcycle officer and the Governor's Horse Guard.
"I was parked in the parking lot and decided to stay for the parade because it looked so enchanting. It's a beautiful day, and I'm so glad I did," Boudreau said.
"I think it's charming. It's a real feel-good event. This is adorable," he added said as marching bands in historic costumes and antique cars headed east on Pequot Avenue. "I can't believe I lived here all my life and I didn't know this was going on."
Kathy Bennett of Fairfield, standing several feet away from Boudreau with her daughter, Maia, 9, said she attended the parade last year and that it was "a cute, fun little historic event."
"It's a fun thing to bring your kids to, and I like the history, the fact we don't let go of that history we have," Bennett said.
Boudreau and Bennett were among only a dozen people standing along Pequot Avenue when the parade started, but by the time the Governor's Horse Guard, five marching bands and town, state and federal dignitaries reached the corner of Harbor Road and Center Street, the parade had picked up several hundred residents who walked behind the line of march to Lower Wharf, a town-owned park at the end of Harbor Road, for the Blessing of the Fleet.
"It's a real good turnout," said Chris Jennings of Southport, who planned to tow two Ideal 18 sailboats behind a Boston Whaler so clergy on a dock at Lower Wharf could bless them as they passed by. Jennings said he's been to the parade four or five times and that it represents "just the spirit of community in Southport Village."
"With the bands going through, there's a sense of Americana," Jennings said.
By the time parade participants reached Lower Wharf, the half-acre park was packed with residents enjoying a cool breeze off Southport Harbor and hot dogs provided by the Southport Volunteer Fire Department. Several children and dogs played in the water off Lower Wharf as local, state and federal politicians made brief speeches extolling the virtues of community.

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