Tag Archives: Viva San Pietro


Salty language advisory.

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 Theken, 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!


Viva San Pietro!

Closing Ceremony Saint Peter Fiesta ©Kim Smith 2015

Throngs of the faithful filled Beach Court.

Filming continued for the Saint Peter’s Fiesta documentary and despite Sunday’s cancelled events, it was a fantastic last day of Fiesta 2015, fantastic in every way! 

Early afternoon was spent filming the Sunday Greasy Pole walkers for their pre-walk rally. After processing through downtown with stops along the way at the Gloucester House Restaurant, House of Mitch, and Saint Peter’s Club, the Walkers headed over to Beach Court. The 80s Greasy pole Champions Sunday Greasy Pole Rally  ©Kim Smith 2015Sunday Greasy Pole Rally Nicastro and ©Kim Smith 2015

Sunday Greasy Pole Rally Nicastro ©Kim Smith 2015

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.

Sunday Greasy Pole Rally ©Kim Smith 2015

Main Street with the Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers–the costumes were especially funny and fun this year!

I raced back to Pavilion Beach to film and photograph the walkers and seine boat race. The crowd was tremendous! A special note of thanks to Sally Elliot for holding my bag the entire time while filming/photographing as I was standing in the water to get as close as possible, and struggling with camera gear. THANK YOU SALLY for all your help, so very much appreciated!

Lock and Load 2015 Seine Boat Champions Gloucester MA ©Kim Smith 2015JPGLock and Load Gloucester Seine Boat ©Kim Smith 2015Lock and Load Men’s Seine Boat Champions

The men’s seine boat race was simply thrilling; Lock and Load won the close race, followed by an outstanding flag capture by Jake Wagner.

Jake Wagner Sunday Monday 2015 Greasy Pole Champion ©KIm Smith 2015Jack Wagner 2015 Sunday Greasy Pole Champion
Joe DaSilva Greasy Pole Gloucester  ©Kim Smith 2015Joe DaSilva Courtesy Round Walk (see more grease-flying-free-falling photos here)

It's Not Easy Being Greasy ©Kim Smith 2015It’s Not Easy Being Greasy!

The Walkers hoisted Jack upon their shoulders and carried him to the Greasy Pole Hall of fame wall. Then it was back to Beach Court where the closing ceremony was held. Heartfelt speeches were given by the team captains, with much cheering and accolades for all.

Good Night Saint Peter ©Kim Smith 2015 copyGoodnight Saint Peter

After the award ceremony, the statue of Saint Peter was processed through the Fort amidst much merriment, joyful singing, and the traditional call and response: “Me chi samiou tutti mutti?  Viva San Pietro,” which means, roughly: Are you all mute? (or Why are you not shouting?)- long live Saint Peter!

Viva San Pietro!

Cape Ann Museum celebrates Fiesta with film, photography, sculpture and more.

Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan and Greasy Pole Walkers Saint Peters Fiesta Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thekan and the Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers

GLOUCESTER, Mass. (June 10, 2015) – The Cape Ann Museum is pleased to offer a special view of Fiesta-inspired art. The mini-exhibit will be on display in the lower level atrium from Tuesday, June 23 through Sunday, June 28 during Museum hours. Drawing on the Museum’s own collection, along with private collections in the area, the exhibit includes works by New York artist Philip Reisman who worked in Gloucester during the 1940s and 1950s, painters Lucette White and Eileen Mueller who captured the color and excitement of Fiesta in more recent years, and collage artist and sculptor Hans Pundt. Two documentary films about Fiesta will be available for viewing on a continuous loop throughout the week. Related exhibits and information can be found in the Museum’s Maritime Galleries.

St. Peter’s Fiesta – Festa di San Pietro – honors St. Peter, the patron saint of fishermen. It is the largest and most colorful of the celebrations that Sicilian immigrants brought to Gloucester. The tradition of celebrating Fiesta began in Gloucester the late 1920s as a neighborhood novena and expanded to a city-wide event in the 1930s. Fiesta is still celebrated in Gloucester in late June, with music, dancing, parades, fireworks, seine boat races and the traditional greasy pole competition. On the last day of Fiesta, an outdoor Mass is held, followed by the blessing of Gloucester’s fishing fleet.

Viva! Saint Peter's Fiesta Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Viva!

New Film: Buona Fiesta!

Our beautiful Gloucester community is the inspiration for Buona Fiesta! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who appears in the film. I love it when you see me and smile and wave—it just adds another layer of fun to the film!

Buona Fiesta! begins with the opening of the Friday night ceremony at Saint Peter’s Square. The statue of Saint Peter, the patron saint of fishermen, is processed around the American Legion Building (Gloucester’s first City Hall), with the parade ending in a fanfare of confetti and cheers at Saint Peter’s Square. Joe Novello is the host for the formal opening ceremony of the 2014 Saint Peter’s Fiesta.

Highlights from the Friday and Saturday Greasy Pole events are followed by the Sunday morning Mass and the procession through the city streets to Our Lady of Good Voyage Church, and then back to Saint Peter’s Square. Tradition has the rallying Sunday Greasy Pole Walkers joining the feast well underway at the Giambanco childhood home, before heading over to the Gloucester House Restaurant and Saint Peter’s Club for liquid encouragement. Highlights from Sunday’s Greasy Pole are followed by the midnight closing ceremony. Saint Peter and followers process around the Fort and are greeted with more confetti and a beautiful fireworks display over the water. As Saint Peter is safely tucked back into the window at the Saint Peter’s Club, all wish him good night with cheers of Viva San Pedro…until next year’s Buona Fiesta!

You’ll see all three Greasy Pole winners take their flags, Mark Allen, Kyle Barry, and Jack Russ; the Giambanco sisters, Sefatia, Rosaria, Marianne, and Grace, who provide a Saint Peter’s Feast for the entire community; House Representative Ann Margaret Ferrante, State Senator Bruce Tarr, Mayor Kirk, Melissa Cox; Oar’Dacious teammates and sisters, Janelle Sleepy Pallazola Puopolo, Leanne Pallazola, and Jamie Pallazola; Salvi Benson’s final Greasy Pole Walk; Nicky Avelis; Steven Le Blanc almost capture the flag; Crazy Hat Ladies, sisters Robyn and Amy Clayton; and many, many more.

Read More Here ~

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"Viva San Pietro" From Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon

Hi Joey, Here is my Fiesta Story. The Heart of Fiesta: Prayer for our Fisherman.
My son, Hilary, actually had you  post my pictures before, but they are so beautiful,
I like to  look at them over again. Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon
PS. My Father’s side Frontiero Family is having an informal reunion at the
Cupboard on Stage Fort on Thursday, June 11 from 4-5 pm
My mother’s side the Piscitello’s are having a Grand Reunion on
Sunday, July 14th at Stage Fort Park. My mother  was the first born of 11 children.
I will send pictures and an account of the Grand Affair Piscitello Reunion..


“Viva San Pietro”              Virginia (Frontiero) McKinnon 6/2013

Another Fiesta, another joy for Gloucester, starting with the nine day novena. I participated with my friends at American Legion Hall.
The ladies look forward to this annual event. Seeing old friends again. Rose Verga is the organizer of this pre-fiesta program. She reads a verse from the Bible, followed  with prayer to St. Peter for his intercession in keeping our fisherman safe, praying for our beautiful city of Gloucester and many prayers for healing, receiting each name of people in need of prayer.  We recite the rosary in Italian and sing our traditional Sicilian hymns .The service last for one hour. Renewing friendships over coffee and wonderful pastries each evening. On the ninth day, Tuesday evening our Pastor Father Kiley celebrated Mass. After mass our traditional  cassata cake was served. Our new St. Peter’s pins were distributed  Then the statue of St. Peter was taken down from the altar on the stage of the American Legion hall. We had a procession, chanting “Viva San Pietro,” all he way down  14 Beach Court  to Pavilion Beach.  After a dedication ceremony, the St. Peter‘s statue was taken back to the St. Peter’s Club on Roger St. On Friday evening the ladies  accompany the St. Peter statue in another procession  to St. Peter’s  place of honor on the altar in St. Peter’s Square.

So many memories and stories to tell of Fiesta’s in the past. I have seen 83 of the 86 fiesta’s, I remember seeing a group of fishermen wives and families seated in a circle on Commercial St., praying for nine days to St. Peter for his  intercession to bring their loved ones safely home from their fishing trips. proceeding St. Peter’s fiest day on June  29th. In later years beautiful ornate altar’s were erected on this spot. Every year an Italian man came from Boston with his sons and put the masterpieces altars together, mostly with paper, foil and pins. Each year the altar was different and took a month to erect. I have so many precious memories of 14 Beach Court, where my Dad lived before he married my mother. This was our family gathering place for Fiesta. My grandfather, Paul Frontiero and my Aunt Vincie made us all feel so special. Lots of cold drinks, cookies, sandwiches, everyone together having a good time. My dad had seven siblings, all had large families. I have lots of cousins. I loved watching the seine boat races on Pavilion Beach, the greasy pole, many contest for children, the procession on Sunday  and the fireworks on Sunday night.  Big set pieces fireworks on the beach followed by the American Flag display. Sometimes we would climb out my grandfather’s  bedroom window on to a little ledge for a bird’s eye view. Recently I looked up at that little ledge and wondered how all the kids were able to fit on that little ledge.

What a Fiesta

Fiesta this year was so much fun and the mother nature cooperated. Sunday’s winner of the Greasy Pole was Nicky Avelis, great job.

Wednesday the start of Fiesta 2013

Even in the rain, The Lannon looked beautiful coming around 10 pound island and the Seine boats getting ready to race, the Altar and some of the rides.

The workers are getting it done

Viva San Pedro!!!