Tag Archives: Sicilian-American traditions

DEREK HOPKINS – YOUR FRIDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY 2019 GREASY POLE CHAMP!

Note to the GP Walkers – Although there was no Greasy Pole due to coronavirus, I was hoping to have this long overdue short completed for the 2020 Saint Peter’s Fiesta weekend, just to cheer everyone up. My son broke several ribs on Friday and instead of editing over the weekend, I was taking care of my family. He’s on the mend and today was my first chance to finish editing. Better late than never I hope.

Viva!

Congratulations to 18 year old Derek Hopkins for winning Gloucester’s Greasy Pole Friday, Saturday, and Sunday competitions!

Derek is only the second walker to win the Friday, Saturday, Sunday trifecta, after Jake Wood (1999).

Derek’s Dad, Rich Hopkins captured the flag in 1996 and 1997. Derek and his Dad are the fourth father-son duo to win the flag.

Note about the music – Eh, Cumpari! or Hey, Goombadi! is a Sicilian song we hear playing often during Fiesta. Sung by Julius La Rosa and released in 1953, it is a cumulative song, in which each verse contains all the previous verses.

From wiki – a rough translation –

Hey buddy, [music] is playing.
What is playing? The whistle.
And what does it sound like—the whistle?
[vocalized instrument sound]

the whistle, [rhythm words]
.
u friscalettu = whistle [small flute]
u saxofona = saxophone
u mandulinu = mandolin
u viulinu = violin
la trumbetta = trumpet
la trombona = trombone

SAINT JOSEPH KIDS MAKING PASTA!

Best pasta making day ever!

Kids Pasta Making Day will be available to view for one day as it is part of the larger Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project.

CAFFE SICILIA’S MARIA, NINA, AND DOMENIC DEMONSTRATE MAKING SPECIAL SAINT JOSEPH ALTAR BREAD

Artists-in-the-Kitchen Maria Cracchiolo, and her parents Domenic and Nina Damico, demonstrate how to create beautiful bread in shapes symbolic of Saint Joseph and inspired by nature. Watch as Maria, Nina, and Domenic artfully shape angels, a carpenter’s saw, San Giuseppe scroll, Saint Joseph sun, snails, flowers, butterflies, grapes, and more.

As you will hear Maria’s story unfold (while deftly shaping the dough), her family’s tradition of making the Saint Joseph altar bread began several years ago, for a very heartfelt reason. In 2010, her young daughter was facing a very serious operation. Maria had never made the special Saint Joseph altar bread, but decided that year to make it her devotion to Saint Joseph. Maria taught herself how to shape the bread, finding inspiration in old photos of altars, and also from images, which she found online, of bread made in Sicily. Maria lived in Italy for five years, attending art school and studying fashion design. When I write “Artists-in-the Kitchen” you’ll see why after viewing the video.

Both of Maria’s parents, Nina and Domenic, were born in Sicily and grew up celebrating the Feast of San Giuseppe in the Sicilian tradition of feeding the poor and orphaned, and welcoming all who came to their table. Thank you Maria, Domenic, and Nina for graciously welcoming me into your Caffe Sicilia’s kitchen!

Many thanks to Mayor Sefatia for the suggestion to contact Maria and family to interview for Gloucester’ Feast of Saint Joseph film project.

This video is part of the larger Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project and will be available to view for one day.

ST. JOSEPH PASTA MAKING WITH THE GROPPO FAMILY AND FRIENDS!

If you weren’t able to make pasta Tuesday morning at Nina and Frank Groppos, a second special St. Joseph pasta-making day is taking place this Saturday at 10:00am. This additional day is especially for kids and everyone is invited to join the fun!

Charlotte was so super shy at first, but Kathy Pratl took her under her wing and showed her how. As soon as she understood everyone was making her favorite, noo-noos, Charlotte joined right in. Thank you Nina, Franco, Kathy, Roseanne and Friends for a great morning! <3

NEW FILM: VIVA SAN PIETRO!

Thank you to our beautiful Gloucester community for participating in Viva San Pietro! Thank you to the Greasy Pole Walkers for interviews given during the Sunday rally and especially to Nicky Avelis for help coordinating. A huge thanks to Joe DaSilva for the suggestion to listen to Mike Forgette’s music for the film’s soundtrack and for help in contacting Mike. A tremendous thank you goes to Mike Forgette for granting permission to use his song “Whats the Difference” (link to hear more of Mike Forgette Music).

Viva San Pietro! opens with Joe Novello preparing Gloucester’s Saint Peter’s Square for the formal opening ceremony, to which he is also the master of ceremonies. Highlights from Friday afternoon’s sporting events are followed by the procession of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, around the American Legion Building (Gloucester’s first City Hall), with the parade ending in a fanfare of confetti and cheers. Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan takes to the stage and provides some history about the origins of the Fiesta. Senator Tarr and all officials give praise to the committee for their tireless dedication. Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante and City Councilor Steven LeBlanc rally the crowd with the traditional call and response that is heard throughout the city in the coming days, and Father Jim Achadinha gives his blessing.

Saturday’s Greasy Pole competition is featured with highlights from Joe DaSilva’s winning walk. Due to foul weather, Sunday’s events take place on Monday. The Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers in their zany and colorful costumes tell of past walks and wins at the rally held at the home of Sunday Walker Joe Sanfillipo. After processing through downtown with stops along the way at the Gloucester House Restaurant, House of Mitch, and Saint Peter’s Club, the Walkers head over to Beach Court. Because Sunday’s events had been postponed to Monday and the stage broken down on schedule, the statue of Saint Peter was temporarily moved to Beach Court. After blessings and prayers, the revelers headed back to Saint Peter’s Square to board the ferry to the Greasy Pole.

The men’s seine boat competition does not disappoint, with Lock and Load taking the trophy, followed by an outstanding flag capture by Jake Wagner.

The Walkers hoist Jake upon their shoulders and carry him to the Greasy Pole Hall of Fame Wall. Then it’s back to Beach Court where the closing ceremony is held. Congratulatory speeches are given by the team captains, with much cheering and accolades for all. After the award ceremony, the statue of Saint Peter is processed through the Fort amidst much merriment, joyful singing, and “Me chi samiou tutti mutti? Viva San Pietro!,” which roughly translated means: Are you all mute? (or Why are you not shouting?)—long live Saint Peter!

You’ll see all three Greasy Pole winners Joe DaSilva, Lenny Taormina, and Jake Wagner, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan, House Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, State Senator Bruce Tarr, Sunday Greasy Pole Walker and City Councilor Steven LeBlanc, Peter Black Frontiero, Nicky Avelis, Joe Sanfilippo, Paul Nicastro, Kyle Barry, Mark Allen, Crazy Hat Ladies, sisters Robyn and Amy Clayton, and many, many more. Viva San Pietro!

Pasta Making with Nina Groppo Friends and Family!

Filming for Gloucester’s Feast of Saint Joseph Community Film Project is continuing throughout the novena and on Saint Joseph’s Day. Visit the film’s blog for latest scenes!

Gifts of Gold ~ In a Sicilian Kitchen with Sista Felicia

 

Amanda, Felicia, Pat Ciaramitaro.

Three Generations ~ Daughter Amanda, Felicia, and Mom Pat

Video – 2013 Sunday Greasy Pole Walking for Loved Ones and Former Champs

Nicky Avelis Walking for Loved Ones

Nicky Avelis captures the flag for the third year in a row. Avelis dedicated his win to family friend and St. Peter’s Fiesta legend Sleepy Pallazolla.

Congratulations Nicky!

I love filming this event for several reasons; to capture the camaraderie and the hilarity, and mostly because of the the true grit and determined spirits of the Greasy Pole Walkers. It takes tremendous courage to walk and to keep trying. To all the Greasy Pole Walkers–may you all experience the glory of a win!