FAIRFIELD — One of Southport’s favorite old-fashioned traditions drew big crowds Saturday morning with the annual Blessing of the Fleet and accompanying Street Parade.

The parade began from Southport Congregational Church, where marching bands, vintage autos, and a bevvy of political leaders — state, local, and federal — assembled to make the trek through downtown Southport and over to Southport’s Lower Wharf on end of Harbor Road.

“This is the best of small-town America here in Southport,” said State Rep. Cristin McCarthy Vahey.

“It’s a great chance to connect with the community,” she said, “and we could not have a more perfect day.

Following the parade, a ceremony was held, followed by the blessing of ships passing through the harbor by three local clergy.

“It’s become a wonderful Norman Rockwell-ian tradition of Southport Village,” said Laura Whitmore, “mixing an old-time parade fun with the blessing of the fleet for their safety over the summer.”

“There is something so special about this parade,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, “because it brings out a wonderful community and evokes the joy of summer beginning.”

“It’s one of my favorite events in the whole state,” he said, “and I go to a lot.”