Named after the patron saint of fishermen, St. Peter’s Fiesta is one of the most famous events in Gloucester, Massachusetts, which is where this photograph was taken. The festival was first held in 1927 by an Italian fisherman who commissioned a statue of St. Peter so that families could pray for the safe return of their loved ones who were at sea. This tradition gradually morphed into the exciting, three-day long festival that it is today. Once a simple gathering to offer one's prayers, the festival now includes a wide range 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. This particular photo is from a St. Peter's Fiesta of the 1940s.
This image comes to us from the collection of Fred Bodin, who was both a collector and photographer based in Gloucester, Massachusetts. A photojournalist, Fred spent much of his career working for Yankee Magazine. When Fred passed away in 2016, HIP purchased his collection of photographs and negatives from his estate. Since Fred collected the work of so many New England photographers, we're not exactly sure who snapped this particular shot. However, it just might have been taken by Fred himself.