Bianca, Rosaria Floyd, Mayor Sefatia (holding the key to heaven), Joe Orlando, State Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante
Kathy and Dominic Nicastro
Snapshots from Friday night opening ceremony. I am mostly filming, but do manage to take a few photos. So many beautiful moments last night–I wish there was a simple way to film and take good quality photographs at exactly the same time.
Congratulations to Mark Allen, the 2014 Sunday Greasy Pole Champion! This was Mark’s first win, after 16 previous years of walking! Allen was walking for for his cousin Peter “Black” Frontiero who has the second most wins of all time, with a total of nine.
Each year I look forward to filming and photographing the greasy pole events. The determination on the men’s faces, the camaraderie, the ecstasy and pride in winning, the anguish of defeat, the hilarious costumes, and the Felliniesque antics combine to create a fabulous fiesta of stories and images.
The film opens at the childhood home of the Giambanco Family, with Sefatia leading the Greasy Pole Walkers and guests in the rallying “Viva San Pietro,” the cheer that is heard throughout the city of Gloucester during Saint Peter’s Fiesta. Giambanco sisters Marianne, Grace, Rosaria, and Sefatia continue with their mother Rosalia’s, “Lia’s” custom of feeding the Greasy Pole Walkers dinner before the walk. The tradition began years ago when their brother, Anthony “Matza” Giambanco, began walking. Sefatia explains that Lia had always held a huge family feast with relatives from all around the country attending. The first year her brother walked he told his mom he couldn’t eat because he was meeting everyone. She said I don’t care; you have to eat, and told him to bring everyone back to their home. That was in 1978!
Next the Walkers head over to rally at the Gloucester House, where they greet Lenny shouting his name over and over, to a packed restaurant full of guests. Several more stops are made along the way before the next rally at the Saint Peter’s Club. The Walkers make one last stop to say a prayer to Saint Peter, and perhaps pin a gold charm or coin to the statue, before departing for the greased pole platform at Pavilion Beach
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With special thanks and appreciation to Nicky Avelis and all the Greasy Pole Walkers for allowing me to ride on the boat. It went by way too fast! And thank you to the skipper for giving me a ride back to shore.
With thanks and appreciation to Rosaria, Sefatia, Marianne, and Grace for inviting me to come film the Walker’s rally at your welcoming Fiesta Sunday Feast!
The song “Love Runs Out,” is by OneRepublic for the reissue of their third album, Native.
The song “The Walker” is by Fitz and The Tantrums from the album More Than Just a Dream.
The ride to the platform was thrilling, and a little terrifying, as I wasn’t exactly sure how my not-waterproof camera gear would fare.
After the pole walkers disembarked, the skipper kindly gave me a ride to shore to continue filming from Pavilion Beach.
The Walks began under windy conditions and the tide was low, as it had been all weekend, which made for a very, very long drop when the guys hit the water.
Congratulations to Mark Allen for winning the Sunday 2014 Greasy Pole title. Congratulation to Sunday’s Senior Seine Boat champions, the Wharf Rats, and junior champions, Bad Intentions!
Festivities continued throughout the night with the awards ceremony and live music. Around 11pm, after the late night carnival crowd had dispersed, a beautiful event began to unfold. From all corners of Gloucester, people gathered around to fill the fair grounds. Saint Peter was again lifted down from the stage and a throng of hundreds lined the square to carry the statue around the Fort. With much cheering and jubilation, Saint Peter and his followers were welcomed throughout the neighborhood. Midway during the route, the procession paused and confetti rained down on all. Rounding the bend, a fabulous fireworks display had been organized for the crowd. Sparkles shot all around, and I stayed close to my friends Nina and Frank as we reveled in the sheer beauty of it all. The fireworks concluded and the procession continued, with the sight of Gloucester’s exquisite port illuminated by the nights’ light.
Arriving at Saint Peter’s Club, another shower of confetti greeted Saint Peter. The statue was carefully removed from the carrying stand and placed back in the window of the Saint Peter’s Club.
Good Night Saint Peter, Until Next Year!
Thank you to the beautiful Nina and Frank Groppo and their friends and family for always welcoming me with their open arms. Thank you to the beautiful Giambanco family for welcoming us all to their home for their fabulous Sunday Fiesta Feast and Fun!