By Kevin Aherne
Hundreds of boats, thousands of spectators, dozens of participants, and one greased up pole...
Last week, while sitting on a boat in Gloucester Harbor, I was exposed to an event like none other I had ever experienced; the Greasy Pole Contest at Saint Peter's Fiesta.
The event, which has been held on the last weekend in June since 1931, has become widely known and celebrated throughout New England. Originally adapted from a Sicilian tradition, the Greasy Pole competion is pretty much what you would expect; dozens of liquored up contestants trying to walk across a greased up telephone pole, which has been suspended horizontally, 30 feet above the frigid ocean.
While it seems like a foolish excerise, this event is very important to the people of Gloucester. It is the pinnacle event of the Fiesta, and the whole town comes out to cheer on the competitors. Yes, many do come out just to watch these brave souls fall to their demise, but once the flag is successfully removed, the victor becomes a local legend.
Yes. I, Kevin Aherne enjoyed the Greasy Pole. Cue the jokes...
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