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Thousands line Bodega Bay for annual Fisherman's Fest

  • Decorated fishing boats take part in the boat parade during the 39th Annual Fisherman's Festival in Bodega Bay, California, on Sunday, April 29, 2012. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

From the shoreline at Westside Park, Joe Imboden's toddler son, Brody, seemed just as interested in ladybugs crawling in the grass as he was in the colorful fishing boats that set out from Bodega Bay for the annual blessing of the fleet.

Festooned in colorful bunting, the fishing boats were the main event of the annual Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival on Sunday. And the weather for both fishermen and festival-goers couldn't have been better.

"We're just hanging out with the kid and enjoying the beautiful weather," said Imboden of Napa.

Blessing Of The Fleet In Bodega Bay

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All along the shoreline, people waved at the boats and took pictures or videos with cell phones, iPads and cameras.

Spud Point Crab Company owner Tony Anello's boat, the Annabelle, was the second boat in the single-file parade, just behind the New Sea Angler, which carried VIPs and the Catholic priest conducting the ceremony. When the boats reached the outer bay, each floated by the New Sea Angler for a splash of holy water.

The wind was an ideal 10 knots, much calmer than the first day of the festival, Saturday, which saw winds of about 27 knots, Anello said.

"It was beautiful. You couldn't ask for a better day," he said, after returning to shore from the blessing. "Just enough to keep the flies off, as they usually say."

Anello said he hoped this year's salmon season, which begins May 1, would be more productive than the previous.

"We don't expect a huge season, but we expect a better season than we've been having," he said.

On Saturday, the festival drew close to 3,000 visitors, and the crowd Sunday was expected to rival that, said Laurie Ogg, chair of the Bodega Bay Auxiliary for Fisheries and a festival volunteer who was tracking attendance.


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