Last year, rain doused three of the days of St. Peter's Fiesta.
In 2010, a total of more than three dozen arrests cast a different kind of damper over Gloucester's annual five-day weekend. A spirit of rowdiness — spawned more by a troubled bar or two in the west end of Rogers Street than by Fiesta itself — had marred the event all too often in previous years as well.
But, for far more good reasons than bad, the 2012 edition of St. Peter's Fiesta should go down as one of the best in recent history for this 85-year-old event. From the glorious five days of weather — which seemed to bring out bigger and more family-oriented crowds — to perhaps the best seine boat final ever, this past weekend's Fiesta was one for the books.
Yes, there were a few arrests around the grounds. But if someone is going to be nabbed for driving drunk along Commercial Street at 8 a.m., as reported in Monday's Times, that can hardly be blamed on the Fiesta Committee, which does not allow the sale of any alcohol on the St, Peter's Square site.
The fact is, the 2011 opening of the Cape Ann Brewery in its new location next door to the square and last year's debut of the Catch 22 Pub across the street have brought an exciting new dynamic to the block that has carried over to a renewed spirit of Fiesta itself, while the return of Cardinal Sean O'Malley for this year's outdoor Sunday Mass gave added presence to the religious side of the festival, and the work of Gloucester police, their State Police colleagues and the Essex County Sheriff's Department provided the kind of security that helped make this year's Fiesta one for entire families to savor.
As we look to the 86th edition in 2013, let's congratulate and thank President Joe Novello, Anthony Cusumano and their colleagues on the Fiesta Committee who helped make this a Fiesta to remember. Theirs was a job very well done.