The opening of the 86th St. Peter’s Fiesta on Wednesday should draw a renewed focus on the city’s beleaguered fishing industry, reeling from federal cuts in catch limits that still haven’t been shown to be necessary.
And it should once again focus on families, especially in Gloucester’s Italian-American community, where — as Fiesta Committee President Joe Novello noted — many young people who have moved away come back to Gloucester to reunite with family members and friends while enjoying the city’s premie summer weekend.
So we hope that Novello and Police Chief Leonard Campanello are proven right in emphasizing the need to keep this year’s Fiesta respectful and free of any trouble.
But while the Fiesta Committee and Chief Campanello clearly have plans in place, it’s equally important that all Fiestagoers and city residents realize they have a role to play as well; that’s by showing the respect for the festival and other participants so that all indeed can have an enjoyable weekend of good family-focused fun.
Novello and Campanello have both vowed a policy of “zero tolerance” toward those who have, in some past years, cast a cloud of Fiesta by drinking to excess and getting into fights around the Fiesta grounds. And Campenallo, who noted that Gloucester police will be getting support from Massachusetts State Police and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, provided a pretty good definition of what that “zero tolerance” will mean.
“To those who want to come to Gloucester for the specific purpose of getting drunk in the streets, and perhaps causing others to have a less enjoyable time, we are not going to tolerate that,” the chief said. “That’s one of the things we’ll be looking for — people who come into Gloucester and don’t respect the rights and wishes of others to enjoy Fiesta as it should be.”
Amen. Look, Fiesta is a time of celebrating Gloucester and its rich fishing and cultural heritage. And there is indeed much to celebrate, even while offering sincere prayers and hopes that conditions improve for a 400-year-old industry under governmental siege.
But Fiesta is and should always be a family celebration. That means everyone should celebrate Fiesta safely, and if someone’s behavior is threatening your safety, or putting a damper on your or your family’s Fiesta, seek out police and/or security and make them aware of it.
Let’s all do all that we can to ensure St. Peter’s Fiesta 2013 is a safe and enjoyable Fiesta for all.