|By Ray Lamont, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
But make no mistake. When the 87th edition of
"The most important parts of it to me are the traditions," says
"In a lot of communities, people will move or travel far from home, and they usually come back to come together at Christmastime," Novello said. "In
"It is a religious event, it's a family event, it's a family fun event -- and we aim to keep it that way," he said. "It seems to have worked for 87 years, and we're not going to change it a whole lot now."
This year's Fiesta kicks off Wednesday with the
But it will culminate next Sunday, with a
By the time it is complete, the festival will both cost and bring in
There will be a few changes, Novello noted.
One will come in the course of the Fiesta 5K road race, which is co-sponsored and run by the
In the past, the race has both started and finished at the Fiesta grounds, based at the foot of
"It should just be a lot less congested and safer," Novello acknowledged, noting that the race has grown from an initial 30 runners to nearly 900 last year -- a crowd that packed the Fiesta grounds and the Square even before the race began.
Another change can be seen at the rear of the altar, where a new mural by local artist and former fishermen
And a few other changes will be heard -- with vocalist
Novello and other Feista organizers, like the city and its
This year, police Chief
Novello, who reiterated that virtually any alcohol-related "trouble" around the Fiesta grounds is not on the actual site, and usually after the Fiesta grounds have closed, said festival organizers are very aware of the need to maintain a drinking-and drug-free atmosphere. There is no alcohol sold or allowed on Fiesta grounds.
"Like I said, this is all about families, all about fun -- and all about family fun," Novello said. "We always want to keep it that way."
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