Gloucester, Massachusetts

walking the "Greasy Pole"
  • walking the "Greasy Pole"

Gloucester is usually a sleepy seaside town, known for commercial fishing and tourism. But when my girlfriend and I visited our friends Courtney and Chris, who recently moved to the area, the town was thronged with rowdy people.

The occasion: the Fiesta of St. Peter, a coasted carnival full of funnel cake, rusty rides, and tankards of beer. (The town is largely Italian and Catholic, and St. Peter is, among other things, the patron saint of fishermen).

Part of the celebration is walking the "Greasy Pole," for which local men balance on a 40-foot telephone pole and attempt to snatch a flag.

This video, which I filmed from the shore, captures some of the more dramatic attempts. Needless to say, I'd never seen anything like it.

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