Guide to the Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival

Get everything you need to know about this annual fest.

Peep this Shem Creek shrimp boat. | Photo by @flashlightpowder

The 2023 Blessing of the Fleet & Seafood Festival returns this weekend to celebrate the fishing and shrimping industry in Mount Pleasant. We’ll toast to that.

Held at Memorial Waterfront Park on Sunday, April 30 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., this free event will feature a boat parade, live music, a craft show, a shag dance competition, and a shrimp eating contest. The festival also includes a ceremonial blessing of the fleet, aka the shrimp + fishing boats.

Bring your appetite for seafood and other bites from local vendors including Gilligan’s, Not Just Franks Cafe, Mazyck’s Grille, and Graze.

Each year, festival proceeds are donated to local nonprofit organizations. This year’s beneficiaries are Camp Rise Above as well as the Wayne Magwood Memorial Sculpture, which will be placed on the Shem Creek pedestrian bridge.

Let’s dive into the history. In the 1930s, Captain William C. Magwood brought shrimping to Shem Creek. A bridge was built over the creek in 1937, and decades later the first shrimp dock was added. A thriving seafood industry grew around Shem Creek, which helped attract tourism and hospitality to the area.

Enjoy the festival, Charleston. Pro tip: Parking is limited at Memorial Waterfront Park, so take a free shuttle.

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