Organized every year since 1927 by the Italian fishing community, the Gloucester, Massachusetts summer would not be complete with out the week-long St Peter’s Festival, which sprawls across the entire downtown and into the bay itself. Marking the passage of a year of protection by St Peter, patron saint of fisherman, the town celebrates by holding an all out party, complete with a parade, carnival, food, shopping, games and the festival’s highlight, the Greasy Pole.
According to the festival’s tradition, dozens of daring men ranging in from teenagers to community elders attempt to cross a 200-yard pole, set from an elevated pier over the water of the bay at heights up to 25 feet above the surface of the ocean, in order to capture a red or Italian flag, all without falling into the water. The Greasy Pole, as you might guess, is generously larded with every known slippery substance from axle grease to banana peels to olive oil. The man who successful crosses the beam to reach the flag wins nothing more than bragging rights, but the entire town — and shoppers near and far — turn out to watch the fun and take part in the celebrations. To get in on the fun and set up your booth, contact the fair organizers via the Chamber of Commerce or check out the vendor information on the fiesta shows website.