On Saturday, May 26th the Springfield, Illinois Elks lodge will host the 3rd annual Blessing of the Boats, an event intended to promote safe boating on Lake Springfield this boating season. The Blessing of the Boats kicks off Memorial Day weekend and is part of National Safe Boating Week. Fr. Charlie Hart OFM will be the celebrant, Mayor Jim Langfelder will be the keynote speaker; the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Police as well as the Springfield Police boat patrol and the U.S. Power Squadron's will be on hand to provide free vessel safety inspections. City Water, Light and Power boat patrols will also attend and monitor a no wake zone during the event.
The Blessing of the Fleet is a tradition that began centuries ago in Mediterranean fishing communities. While the practice is predominantly a Roman Catholic tradition, the Lake Springfield Blessing of the Boats is nondenominational and all are welcome to participate. The public is invited to attend the event by boat or shore at the lakefront of the Springfield Elks Lodge located at 409 East Lake Shore Drive on the northeast end of the lake. A "Blessing Best Decorated Boat Parade" a contest for the best-decorated boat will be held immediately following the ceremony. Boats may begin assembling near the lakefront after 12 p.m. and the ceremony will begin promptly at 1:00 p.m. Participating boaters are encouraged to decorate their boats appropriately and can assemble lakeside at the Elks lodge property about 100 yards off shore. A parade of boats to receive the blessing will be led by the Illinois Department of Resources Police and the Springfield Police. The Land of Lincoln Power Squadron will be on site with boating operation simulators and boating safety information from 9am-2pm. T-Shirts to commemorate this annual event are on sale from any Elk member.
RAIN DATE: In case of rain, the event will be moved to Monday May 28th, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is a nationwide fraternal organization
promoting Americanism, veterans and youth programs and community involvement. Springfield Elks Lodge # 158 boasts of approximately 1000 members and has been a part of the Springfield community for over 100 years. Prospective members can make inquiries during the event.