A giant pot of cooking lobsters touting the online blog GoodMorningGloucester.org steamed its way to victory in Tuesday night's Fishtown Horribles Parade, taking first prize for the most creative float in a parade in which, says GMG's Joey Ciaramitaro, "there are no losers."
That may certainly be true in spirit, but towering 3-foot trophies were nevertheless awarded by a jury of 12 to floats that proved the biggest crowd-pleasers in 10 categories.
City Councilor Melissa Cox, who handed out all 10 trophies, says two went to first-time parade participants.
One — ovathebridge.com, which took first prize in the "Civic and Community" category — was a last-minute entry. The other, Castle Manor Inn — whose float came complete with two towers, a drawbridge, and moat — wowed its way to winning the "Judge's Choice" award.
Both entrants were not just newcomers to the parade, says Cox, but newcomers on Gloucester's business scene. The 26-room restored Victorian Castle Manor Inn has just opened its doors at 133 Essex Ave. for its first summer season under the management of new owners, while ovathebridge.com is a new, interactive blog site that delivers what its owners say is "a daily dose of Gloucester."
Also in the business arena was Gorton's Grand Theme Award-winning float, a diorama on wheels showcasing 236 years of American history, from Founding Fathers to NASA rockets, and Ryan & Wood Distillery's "Speakeasy," which poured it on with their Knockabout Gin, knocking out all contenders for top prize in the Business and Industry category.
In the Religion & Fraternal category, AMVETS marched off smartly with top honors, while on the Best Musical entry front, the Annisquam Village Players' Dorothy and Toto danced off with the trophy for "The Wizard of Oz."
In the Youth Group category, best in the show went to the Cape Ann YMCA's Camp Spindrift, while Flipper took honors for the most unusual," and Stormy Weather blew away the competition for "Most Creative Horrible."
If a prize was going for the most heat-challenged participants, says Cox — who acts as treasurer of the parade committee — honors would have gone to the sweltering inhabitants of the Scooby Doo, Pablo the Penguin, Hello Kitty and Elmo costumes.
"We had to keep giving them breaks in the air-conditioned trophy truck," says Cox, who also had to escort a desperate Pablo the Penguin on an emergency bathroom break to Shaw's on Railroad Avenue.
Felicia Mohan, meanwhile, said she would give prizes to everyone who helped her and her husband Barry bring home another trophy for her brother Joey Ciaramitaro's Good Morning Gloucester float.
It's the third year that Mohan has floated GMG to the top of the judge's list. Last year, her Lobster Trap clawed its way easily to Judge's Choice, and the year before, her giant Homey Seagull flew straight to the top of the Most Creative category.
Building these behemoths is always a little crazy, Mohan says. But this year, what with five days of Fiesta colliding with the parade, things got really insane. With more than a little help from their friends — in particular, Ed Collard, Craig Kimberly, Jeremy Frost and Frank Ciolino — the Mohans and Ciaramitaros managed to add the last lobster to the giant lobster pot at 4:15 the afternoon of the parade.
"We had staple guns going to the last minute," says Mohan, who credits son B.J. with stirring up the Lobster Pot theme in the first place.
Both Mohan and Cox say they have seen the parade grow bigger by the year, and this year, they say, the crowds were bigger than ever.
Cox estimated the head count to be "about 15,000," and the on-route fund-raising will go a long way toward covering parade costs of "$20,000 to $25,000."
Joann Mackenzie can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or firstname.lastname@example.org.