grease and glory

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grease and glory

This assignment for the Boston Globe was one of my first after my contract started. Profiling a legendary local tradition in coastal Gloucester, Mass. was an all-day treat. I can only hope my photographs show just how much fun the day was. Here is the lead from Globe reporter and greasy pole expert, Billy Baker

“GLOUCESTER – “This is Peter Black’s house,” someone shouts. “Show some respect.”

The “walkers” go quiet, something they haven’t done in hours.

There are 45 of them, mostly guys in their 20s, and they’ve been partying all day, each of them in a ridiculous costume, all part of summoning the courage for what they’ll be doing later in the afternoon.

This is the Friday crowd, the lucky ones who know someone who knows someone and got their names on the list for round one of this fishing port’s major spectator draw and most sacred test: the greasy pole.”



Text by Billy Baker.
Read the original article here.

Gloucester, MA - 6/25/17 - Mike Forgetta, 26, of Gloucester, applies crisco to the greasy pole with the rest of the "Grease Crew" during the St. Peter's Fiesta in Gloucester, Mass. on Sunday, June 25, 2017. Each year a select group of men, some novices, others seasoned champions, compete against each other to see who can run across a telephone pole layered in grease and suspended over the sea. This year after one full round, Gloucester resident, Jake Wagner, grabbed the flag, claiming victory.

Gloucester, MA - 6/25/17 - Randy Sweet, the winner of Friday's and Saturday's greasy pole competition, arrives at a house party during the St. Peter's Fiesta.

Gloucester, MA - 6/25/17 - Vinny Parisi poses for a portrait.

Gloucester, MA - 6/25/17 - Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken leads a chant with her constituents during the St. Peter's Fiesta in Gloucester, Mass.

Gloucester, MA - 6/25/17 - Jake Wagner, the winner of Sunday's competition, clutching the flag during his second attempt at the greasy pole.

Gloucester, MA - 6/25/17 - Jack Wagner celebrating his Sunday greasy pole event win during the St. Peter's Fiesta.