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Southport 'blessed' by sunny skies for fleet celebration

Southport had its annual day in the sun -- with bright skies fully cooperating -- for the Blessing of the Fleet ceremonies Saturday.

A community parade through the center of the village preceded the blessing, with neighbors cheering flag-bearing marching units and kids on bicycles along Pequot Avenue and Main Street down to Southport Harbor.

Among those showing community pride were the Southport Volunteer Fire Department, Fairfield Gaelic Pipe Band, Fairfield police and marching bands attired in Colonial costumes.

At the waterfront, Tim Russell, the parade chairman, welcomed the gathering and introduced several notables, including Grand Marshals Greg and Laurie Peck, owners of Spic & Span Market. The Pecks were marking their 30th year as Southport Village merchants and also welcoming home their son, Alex, from military service in Afghanistan.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal thanked Russell for coordinating the parade and, jokingly, for "making sure we have a sunny day every time."

Following the National Anthem, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes also noted the traditionally fine weather for the event, saying with a grin, "If God is not from Southport, he visits every June."

Following Tetreau's remarks, boats that had been moored in Southport Harbor made their way one after another under a plume of water jetted over the channel, passing local clergy who offered a prayer for each vessel as they headed out to the sun-splashed sea.

Mike Lauterborn

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