After a 2-year absence, the 77th annual fleet of flowers is returning to Depoe Bay this year on Monday May 30th. The Fleet of Flowers was established in 1945. The event came to be to honor the memories of two fishermen, Roy Bower and John Chambers, who died at sea in an attempt to aid another fisherman. It has since evolved to honor all seafarers and those lost at sea, and has many people in attendance every year.
Every year since 1945 citizens have gathered to honor those who have been lost at sea. The event has evolved since its conception to include members of the Armed Forces, fishermen, and firefighters who sacrificed their lives to serve others. A parade of wreath and flower-bedecked boats passes under the Highway 101 bridge, which is lined with spectators. The vessels head just offshore where they form a circle. As they place their flowers in the water a military helicopter drops a wreath in their midst.
The City of Depoe Bay has long supported this community event behind-the-scenes by providing services such as use of the Community Hall for wreath-making (including providing materials and supplies, and hauling away wreath-making debris), supplying the event stage, supplying electricity and water, assistance with setting up the sound system, and providing traffic control in the harbor parking lot on the day of the event.
Volunteers gathered today (5/22) to make wreaths for the annual ceremony. The event will get underway at the Depoe Bay docks at 11 with music and guest speakers then after the ceremony the boats carrying the wreaths will be tossed at sea to honor those who have passed. More information can be found on the Fleet of Flowers website. https://www.fleetofflowers.info/