Shrimp fest, blessing scheduled for June 10-11

Organizers of this year’s Blessing of the Fleet and Biloxi Shrimp Festival are accepting applications for 2006 Shrimp Queen contestants.

Contestants must be ages 16-19 and must be affiliated with the shrimp industry. Those interested in competing should contact Emily Burke at (228) 435-6370 or via e-mail at

This year’s blessing and shrimp festival, which will mark the city’s 78th annual celebration, will see several changes owing to Hurricane Katrina, according to the festival’s three sponsoring organizations, the City of Biloxi, Harrison County and St. Michael Catholic Church.

Committee organizers say the Mass of the Blessing will be Saturday, June 10, at St. Michael Catholic Church on Point Cadet, and the coronation of the Shrimp King and Queen and seafood dinner, normally conducted at the Biloxi Community Center, will be at the former Sacred Heart Academy, which is north of the Nativity BVM cathedral in downtown Biloxi.

Committee members have announced that no registration will be required for local boat owners to participate in the Sunday afternoon Blessing of the Fleet, which will be conducted by the Most Rev. Thomas Rodi, bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Biloxi. However, no prizes will be awarded to participating boats this year.