When St. Peter’s Fiesta reaches its climax Sunday — with the annual Outdoor Mass, the Blessing of the Fleet and, yes, the final Greasy Pole Walk and other events — the day’s real highlight, the procession of St. Peter, travels Gloucester’s streets. And that procession includes the carrying of oars named in tribute of vessels lost at sea by the city’s fishing fleet.
This year, however, Fiesta officials are putting out a call for more carriers.
“We are always in need of people of any age to carry one of the many oars representing Gloucester’s fishing fleet of both the past and present,” said Tom Aiello. “This is a chance to become part of both the Fiesta as well as a tradition that dates back to the late 1960s that was started by Sam Novello and the children of The Fort.”
The only requirement to be a carrier, Aiello said, is that participants should wear a white shirt or top, if possible.
“By carrying an oar in the procession,” he added, “you will also be showing your support for our fishing industry, which today is enduring so many hardships.”
The carriers will be gathering for the procession at the Cape Ann Brewery Co., adjacent to St. Peter’s Park at approximately 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The procession begins after conclusion of the 10 a.m. Outdoor Mass.
Anyone seeking more information may contact Aiello at 978-283-8760.
‘Tiny Tuna’ tournament
A unique bluefin fishing tournament, to be held in honor of a Gloucester fishermen who passed away late last year, is in the works to be held based out of Gloucester and running Thursday through Saturday, July 11-14.
The event, billed as the Mark Godfried Memorial Tag A Tiny Bluefin Tournament, is being organized by the Gloucester-based Large Pelagics Research Center as a fund-raiser to promote bluefin tuna research. The center, under the direction of Dr. Molly Lutcavage, is a premiere research program focused on tunas and billfish. Based at the UMass Marine Station in Gloucester, the center and its tagging program have helped identify migration routes, growth patterns, and potential spawning areas of Bluefin tuna.
Heidi Burgess, who is organizing the bluefin event, noted that “Tag A Tiny is not your traditional fishing tournament, as no cash prizes are awarded and no fish are killed.”
“The purpose of tag is to teach anglers about the importance of tagging and how to get involved in the program,” Burgess said, noting that the tournament is about “having fun and supporting the LPRC.” For $200 per boat, fishermen get tags, a tagging kit, a captain’s bag of giveaways and tickets to the awards banquet, which is set for Sunday, July 14, at The Gloucester House.
The tournament’s fishing times will be from 12:01 a.m. Thursday, July 11, through 11:59 p.m. Saturday, July 13, and there are no boundaries for the competition. The tournament will begin with a meeting for the entered captains and their first mates on Wednesday, July 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Baert Marine, 7 River St., Middleton. The meeting will include an outlining of riles, and distribution of captain’s bags and tagging kits.
For more info visit: http://tagatinybluefintournament.com.
The tournament is named in honor of Mark B. Godfried, who passed away unexpectedly at the age of 77 last Dec. 11.
Godfried fished recreationally and then commercially aboard the Stella G. for more than 15 years, and was an active supporter of bluefin tuna research.
Ocean planning comments
Those Gloucester residents and others who may have scrambled this past week to meet a Friday comment deadline regarding a close-to-the-vest federal ocean planning project have a reprieve.
Gloucester waterfront activist Damon Cummings, in sending in his comments to meet the initial June 28 deadline, noted that officials have now extended the deadline to the federally commissioned Northeast Ocean Council by July 26.
In a form email letter to Cummings, John Webber of the ocean council wrote that “we will ... be using results of the public meetings and other public comments we received to help revise and refine the draft goals document, and develop a draft work plan specifying the necessary steps. These two important aspects of this regional ocean planning effort—revised goals and the draft work plan—will be discussed at the next Regional Planning Body meeting, and will be available prior to that meeting.”
The panel has carried out a series of ocean planning meetings around New England in recent weeks, but the process has drawn sharp criticism from the fishing industry and elsewhere from those who’ve said the meetings were poorly advertised, and have drawn little fishermen’s input regarding any ocean planning.
The comment page can be reached through http://northeastoceancouncil.org/comment-on-the-draft-ocean-planning-goals/
Women in Action benefit
The North Shore United Way’s Women in Action initiative announced that $20,000 of their total $30,767 in grant awards will support two Cape Ann programs with a focus on Gloucester: The Cape Ann Farmers’ Market Backyard Growers Program and The Open Door food pantry.
Each program received $10,000.
Gloucester is one of 35 communities in Massachusetts with the highest concentrations of hunger, six times greater than the state average, according to United Way statistics, and in Gloucester’s schools, more than one in three children come from families that struggle to feed their children. The Women in Action grants address the barriers to purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables, increase exposure to and understanding of healthy food for elementary aged children and provide resources for low-income families.
The flag at the Veterans’ Center will fly this week in honor of Revolutionary War veteran Timothy Hodgkins. Born April 4, 1756, he was the son of John and Mary (Kordes) Hodgkins. He married Eunice Harraden on Dec. 29, 1793.
Hodgkins entered the U.S. Army on March 30, 1777, and the private served with Capt. Barnabas Dodge Company 26th Regiment, Col. James Wesson 9th Regiment, and Capt. William Watson Light Infantry Company. He was discharged in 1780.
He died in October of 1830, and is buried with his wife in Bay View Cemetery.
The flag was requested to fly in his honor by the Office of Veterans’ Services.
Anyone wishing to fly a flag in honor of a deceased veteran can call the Office of Veterans’ Services at 978-281-9740.