St. Peter's Fiesta

June 26-30, 2002


Fiesta History

75th Anniversary Events

Greasy Pole

Seine Boat Races



Committee Members

2002 Program


Contact Us





The Greasy Pole is a most unique contest indeed. It takes place 200 feet off Pavilion Beach. A forty-five foot telephone pole is attached to a platform and extends out over the water. A red flag is nailed to a stick at the end of the pole which is then heavily greased. Then, one by one contestants take their turn trying to tear off the makeshift flag pole before slipping and and falling into the water. Some contestants sprint out like racehorses hoping momentum will carry them to the end of the pole. Others take a very slow approach, one step at a time, always trying to maintain their balance. It is not uncommon for these daring individuals to come away with scrapes, bruises or even broken ribs.

The first round is considered the courtesy round. Nobody is allowed to capture the flag. This allows all contestants to participate in the event. Once the first round is complete the contest officially begins and each individual gets his chance to walk. The event usually takes two to four rounds for someone to win but sometimes it can go as long as six or seven rounds.

Once a contestant captures the flag he then swims to the beach with all the other contestants. He is then lifted onto to the shoulders of his fellow walkers and paraded around the town.

The Greasy Pole contest takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Pavilion Beach immediately following the Seine boat races.

The Friday and Saturday contest are for those lucky enough to get their names on the select list of walkers. The Sunday walk is composed of only of the previous day's winner, past champions and protégés who walk for former champions.

A Greasy Pole Walker Takes His Shot At The Flag


A Greasy Pole Winner

Greasy Pole Tidbits

  • Salvi Benson holds the all time record for Greasy Pole wins with 11.
  • Peter Frontiero won seven straight Sunday contests from 1987-1993.
  • 1975 was the last year that champions could walk on Saturday. As of 1976 champions were only allowed to walk on Sunday.
  • In 1979 one individual broke the "No capturing the flag on the first walk" rule. Unfortunately for him he had to face the wrath of Anthony "Matza" Giambanco, who is considered "the sherriff" of the greasy pole or the rule enforcer as some call him. After Matza confronted the contestant with a knuckle sandwich, the flag was immediately returned, nailed back to the pole and the contest resumed.
  • 1999 marked the first year that a third Greasy Pole contest was added.
  • The first Greasy Pole took place in 1931 and won by Nat Misuraca..


Past Winners: 1931-1949 1950-1969 1970-1989 1990-1999



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