Sean Horgan: FishOn: Honoring Fiesta

·4 min read

Jul. 5—So, having a nice Independence Day weekend? We here at FishOn are celebrating in the only manner we know how, with the top down and the radio up. Your basic Yankee Doodle dufuses.

The Fourth of July is one of our favorite days of the year, even when we observe it on the Fifth, and we celebrate it in traditional style. That means ribs on the grill, potato salad, maybe some key lime pie and something frosty to wash everything down. Oh, and a ballgame on the radio. Sublime simplicity.

Properly nourished, we then plan to cruise over to the Beauport Hotel in The Fort and check out the new photo exhibit that celebrates the early days of the St. Peter's Fiesta.

The exhibit was the inspiration of Kathy Cuddyer, the manager of the hotel's gift shop, the Beauport Boutique. With Fiesta again canceled this summer because of lingering concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, Cuddyer thought the exhibit could help fill the void.

"I really wanted to show what Fiesta was like in the 1930s, '40s and '50s," she said Friday. "It was very different then than how people think of it now. It was much more religious. I wanted to get the oldest pictures I could find."

Cuddyer hooked up with the folks at the Cape Ann Museum, surveying almost 70 photos before winnowing it down to seven. She took those photos — mostly black-and-white, with some color, as well — to the Hershey Frame Shop in Rockport, which produced digitized copies and framed them for hanging at the hotel.

As she was going though the images, she actually came across one of herself riding aboard a Fiesta float sometime in the 1950s. But she just couldn't bring herself to use it.

"It just felt too self-serving," she said.

Still, just seeing it, Cuddyer said, felt like a sign that she was doing the right thing.

The exhibit, which went up in late June around the time Fiesta would have happened, is located on the walls of the hotel's lower lobby and is a striking reminder of a different age along Gloucester's historic timeline.

She said the hotel plans to keep the pictures up for another two weeks. So, get on down to The Fort and check it out. It's really quite something.

FishOn weekly baseball quiz question

On this date in 1947, Larry Doby made his major league debut with the Cleveland Indians to become the second Black player in the history of the major leagues, three months after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier. Doby was also the second Black to do what else in baseball?

On your marks, get set, go . . . fishing

Just a reminder to anglers from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and your friends here at FishOn that the state's commercial striped bass fishery is open today.

The state closes the fishery around several summertime holidays, specifically July 3, July 4 and Labor Day. But it remains open today despite the observance of the July 4 holiday.

Safe boating the only way to roll

You may have seen our story last week in the pages of the Gloucester Daily Times and online at gloucestertimes.com about the most recent Coast Guard report on recreational boating that showed alarming increases in recreational boating accidents, injuries and deaths in 2020.

According to the report, the number of recreational boating accidents last year increased 26.3% from 2019, while the number of deaths rose 25.1% and the number of injuries increased 24.7%.

The report attributed the rise of accidents, injuries and deaths, at least in part, to evidence that more people took to the water during the pandemic.

Over the weekend, the Coast Guard, along with other partner agencies, initiated Operation Dry Water that included an increased presence "to enforce boating laws and ensure quick response in the event of maritime emergencies."

With the Independence Day holiday still upon us, a gentle reminder that safety is always the first priority out on the water.

FishOn weekly baseball quiz answer

Doby also became the second full-time Black manager in the history of the major leagues on June 30, 1978, when White Sox owner Bill Veeck hired him to lead the ChiSox — three years after Frank Robinson broke the managerial color barrier with the Indians. The '78 White Sox, with their leisure suit uniforms, looked bad and played worse, going 37-50 under Doby. He was replaced by Don Kessinger before the start of the 1979 season.

As always, no fish were harmed in the making of this column.

Contact Sean Horgan at 978-675-2714, or shorgan@gloucestertimes.com. Follow him on Twitter at @SeanGDT

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