GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Latest Cape Ann News

October 1, 2011

Greasy Pole takes a dive

Fiesta, city leaders say sports centerpiece will be rebuilt

The Greasy Pole — in many ways, the pivotal piece, literally, in the 84-year-old celebration of St. Peter's Fiesta — lost its legs and was found tipped over onto its side in the water off Pavilion Beach on Friday morning.

But Fiesta and city officials are leaving it no doubt it will be rebuilt.

The Greasy Pole — a telephone pole made slippery with liberal amounts of grease and suspended out from a platform — regularly tests the balance of even more heavily lubricated competitors during their popular Friday, Saturday and Sunday efforts to walk across it to the end and claim the flag before falling into the chilly water of the harbor the last weekend of every June.

But that sea — accompanied by high winds and a rising overnight tide — apparently claimed the pole sometime between late Thursday night and daybreak Friday.

"It's old like us," said police Lt. Joe Aiello, "and its sticks aren't as good as they used to be."

Mayor Carolyn Kirk met a team from the St. Peter's Fiesta Committee and municipal departments at Pavilion Beach at 10 a.m. Friday to coordinate salvage plans and announce that "money will not get in the way" of having the structure repaired and back in place.

"We will rebuild the Greasy Pole," she promised.

Fiesta Committee President Joe Novello said Tropical Storm Irene, which blew through in August, had damaged the platform and a meeting to plan for strengthening it had coincidentally been scheduled for Pavilion Beach with Conservation Commission representatives Friday morning.

Local contractors Norris "Tiger" Marston and Jack LaVie, who had been hired by the Fiesta Committee to shore up the pole and its dock prior to Friday's calamity, instead floated the platform at the afternoon high tide to carry it over sensitive eel grass beds just off the beach. The pole and its dock were towed to Rose's Marine.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment