Ulladulla Blessing of the Fleet Parade
Some of these floats will have an easily identifiable theme (Avatar) while some will be an awkward mish-mash of intertextuality (I knew I would get to use that word somewhere, post-Communications degree … yesssss!).
It’s all a bit Stephen King-meets-Alfred Hitchcock-meets- M.Night Shyamalan-meets-David Lynch, non?
While it may seem a little bit kooky, it’s also joyously fun. The whole population of Ulladulla comes out to watch all the neighbourhood kids shimmy down the main drag dressed in wacky costumes.
Interspersed with the floats are battalions of Scottish pipers. Hey, whatever. Anything goes.
We watch in delight as the kids laugh and dance about, relishing their moment in the spotlight.
Then we follow the procession down the hill to the markets and the foreshore where the serious business of Easter Sunday is taking place. The local parish priest is blessing the fishing fleet, a tradition that dates back to the 1956 when Father Weatherall decided to weave some Italian flavour into the Resurrection.
The blessing is actually kind of boring, like a normal church service except with fresh air and a view. The cool part is that a Jesus statue got its own float, decorated with flowers. I feel like a little bit of Italy has landed in this seagull infested chunk of the South Coast.
Ulladulla is a sleepy little town. I don’t think much happens here, except for malicious gossip about the sexual proclivities of single/divorced/widowed people and the occasional mailbox theft.
The Blessing of the Fleet is the Big Day Out and it’s wonderful. I recommend.