Before the salmon season begins in earnest, Dillingham will pray for safety and remember those lost at sea.
Fishermen and community members on the west side of Bristol Bay will gather to pray for a safe and bountiful season at the 28th annual Blessing of the Fleet this weekend.
Louisa Hanson is the pastor at Dillingham Trinity Lutheran Church. Though the idea of a pre-fishing-season blessing is centuries old, Hanson said the tradition was started in Dillingham in 1988 by some Catholic volunteers.
“It’s for two reasons, really,” Hanson said. “To honor those that have already lost their lives in fishing, and there always seems, unfortunately, some each year. And those names are ready, and the ringing of the bell. But it’s also a time to pray for safety of those who are going out in this season.”
The blessing is given by the clergy of multiple churches in town, and this year Teresa Duncan will play music.
Anyone can add a fallen fisherman’s name to the list of those remembered at the event, which is scheduled for Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Dillingham boat harbor.