By Juli McDonald

GLOUCESTER (CBS) – The Greasy Pole Contest in Gloucester takes balance, bravery and some blind faith. They slipped and they slid for almost 90 minutes and it took until the second to last contestant for victory.

There were funny falls, painful falls, quick falls and they nearly had it all’s. The Sicily-inspired contest drew big crowds to Gloucester Friday. It’s easy to see why.

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2018 Greasy Pole Contest Champion Frank Taormina (WBZ-TV)

“What I like is unscripted drama,” said Heidi Wakeman of Gloucester. “You don’t know how it’s going to end, or when.”

Just when that flag seemed unreachable, 26-year-old year old Frank Taormina grabbed it as he was falling into the water. Hoisted on the shoulders of his competitors, Taormina was paraded in triumph through his hometown streets.

“This is a dream come true for my son! This is awesome,” Enza Taormina, Frank’s mother said.

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Frank Taormina carried out of the water (WBZ-TV)

The greasy pole, part of the Saint Peter’s Fiesta, represents the important things for this champ: family, tradition, and treasured memories.

“My grandfather was in the fiesta committee and I lost him four years ago,” Frank Taormina said. “He was a fisherman, I’m a fisherman. My family is built on fishermen. This is what St. Peter’s Fiesta is all about. The blessing of the fishermen and how our community was built. I can’t say enough about my love for the ocean and my community and Gloucester. I couldn’t be more happy.”

The tradition continues this weekend – two more opportunities for Greasy Pole glory! Round 2 begins Saturday afternoon at 4:45 pm.

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Web Extra: Greasy Pole Contest Highlights

Juli McDonald