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Ethnic Festival
Saint Peter Statue, Ethnic Festival, 2009; Saint Peter's Fiesta, Inc.; Gloucester; Photography by Ellen Arnstein
Saint Peter Statue, Ethnic Festival, 2009
Saint Peter's Fiesta, Inc.
Photography by Ellen Arnstein
Greasy Pole Walkers; Ethnic festival; 2009: Gloucester, MA
Marching Band; Ethnic festival; 2009: Gloucester, MA
Fiesta Hats; Ethnic festival; 2009: Gloucester, MA
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Saint Peter's Fiesta
Gloucester, MA
Web Site
Every year, Gloucester hosts a celebration in honor of the Patron Saint of fisherman, Saint Peter. In 1927, Savatore Favazza, an Italian- American fisherman, erected a statue of Saint Peter in the center of town. Within four years a festival honoring the Saint had become an important part of the town's identity. Now in its 83rd year, the festival attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors who come to experience the varied cultural and social events that take place. For five days, festival goers sample local and traditional Italian dishes - many utilizing the fresh seafood caught down the street - while watching and/or participating in various sporting and social events.

Fiesta is famous for its traditional sporting events - the Seine boat races and the Greasy Pole. The Greasy Pole, famous world- wide, is a test of strength, agility, and guts, as costumed walkers attempt to capture a flag suspended at the end of a long greased pole, many feet above the water. Thousands of spectators watch from the beach, as the contest takes place in the distance, while hundreds of others boat, kayak, or canoe out into the water to grab a front row seat.

Aside from the sporting events, food, music and dancing, the Fiesta features a carnival, an outdoor mass, a blessing of over 100 Italian- American fishing vessels, as well as various processions. On Sunday, a parade that lasts for over three hours marches through the town, featuring religious groups carrying elaborate statues honoring Saint Peter, Mary, Jesus and others, while shouting prayers and salutations 'Viva! Viva! Viva San Pietro! '.
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