Catholic priests and attendees are gathered for the "Blessing of the Fleet" ceremony to celebrate the annual St. Peter’s Fiesta in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The priests are in the middle of conducting the blessing of the fleet, in which the town's fishing boats are blessed for the year to ensure the safety of its passengers. Towards the background is one of the many fishing boats that is blessed for the year. There are many American flags that are connected to its poles and wave valiantly in the wind, as well as many nautical flags that decorate the wiring.
The St. Peter's Fiesta in Gloucester honors St. Peter, the patron saint of fisherman, and is sponsored by the city's Italian-American community. The festival spans for five days and features a variety of activities, one of the most notable being the greasy pole contests. In this event, participants climb a greased 200-yard pole that is placed 25 feet above the water to try and successfully obtain a flag placed at the end of the pole. While somewhat silly, the activity is also rather dangerous, and so many precautions are taken in order to ensure the safety of its participants.
From the collection of Fred Bodin of Gloucester MA. Fred was a long time resident and well-known photographer of Gloucester and had one of the best private collections of New England nautical photographs in private hands. Fred was a photojournalist having graduated with this degree from Syracuse University and worked for Yankee Magazine. Fred passed away in 2016 and HIP purchased his collection from his estate.