St. Peter’s Fiesta and The Greasy Pole

June 17, 2019 / History/Maritime, Outdoor Adventures, Things to Do & See

St. Peter's Fiesta 2

One of the greatest traditions here in Gloucester, MA is the St. Peter’s Fiesta which is a combination of a religious festival and celebration for the community. The event is held from June 26 to June 30, 2019 throughout the city. It is a celebration of the city’s commercial fishing and faith, that has grown to become a city-wide party. The celebration offers parades of statues, icons through the streets, Seine boat races, the blessing of the city’s commercial fishing fleet, Masses, nine evenings of prayer, a carnival and the greasy pole contest. The festival is sponsored by the Italian American community in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

The Greasy Pole at Saint Peter's Fiesta, Discover Gloucester, MA
Photo by Jeffrey M. Stockman

The festival lasts for 5 days, and offers a variety of activities for everyone. One of the highlights of the Fiesta is the Greasy Pole. Each year, local men take turns walking the pole for glory and honor. A telephone pole on a platform in the harbor is greased and a flag is affixed to the end. One by one, contestants walkout, slip ,and plummet into the water. It can be a 20 foot drop, depending on the tide  (of course the Coast Guard is standing by). Eventually some lucky walker does slither and slide their way out to the tip and snatch the flag — and bragging rights for the year.

For a full list of times, activities and events happening at this years St. Peter’s Fiesta, click here.