I can't picture a Summer in the South End without Festival Betances, and I can't picture Festival Betances without The Grease Pole. It is a tradition that has been kept alive since i was a child. Groups of men and women take turns climbing a pole covered in grease with the intentions of grabbing the flag at the top. Besides the cash prize, the winning team walks away with bragging rights for a year.
I remember growing up in the Villa Victoria this event was the highlight of my every Summer. Not until recently did I realize exactly how significant this event is to my community. As I documented the event I came into realization that it was our way of uniting as people. The men and women that participate are from several neighborhoods in the Boston area. We all share differences, as people, but for a split second we all shared a common goal. Not one person ever wins on their own. Unity is a requirement.
My focus was to take pictures but I decided to film the event. I wasn't able to get pictures of the climb but I did put a video together. If you wasn't able to make attendance please watch the clip below. A video would never equal up to being there live but... it is a good second option. Enjoy and share!
If you can't see the video CLICK HERE.