Hundreds of spectators are gathered at the port of Gloucester Harbor to celebrate the annual St. Peter’s Blessing of the Feet fiesta. They are dressed in formal attire and are grouped in rows as they gather around the dock. In front of them, a large space is left open so that the priests can conduct the blessing of the ships gathered at the harbor. Many spectators are also crowded onto the ships, whose masts are decorated with a wide arrangement of nautical flags. Smaller boats and their passengers also float around the larger ships, since even the smallest of boats need St. Peter's blessings for the year to come.
The annual St. Peter’s Blessing of Fleet first began in 1926 when an Italian fishing captain, Salvatore Favazza, commissioned a statue of St. Peter, the Catholic patron saint of fisherman, to be built. Throughout history, several thousands of Gloucester fisherman had perished during their voyages, and so the festival is held to pray for the safe return of the city's sailors and honor those who have lost their lives.The festival has grown to attract a number of tourists due to the fun events that are also held, such as the famous "greasy pole" contests.
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.