The Fishtown Horribles

captain The Fishtown Horribles parade is Gloucester, MA’s 4th of July celebration in its own inimitable style. Fishtown style.

Growing up, when Gloucester was more of a “drinking town with a fishing problem”, the Horribles were, well, pretty horrible—in a great, politically incorrect, R-rated, no holds barred kinda way. It was a parade of yellow slicker-bedecked kids, seaweed-strewn “drunken” fishermen brandishing comically large liquor jugs, knocked up fishwives (in drag) complete with missing teeth, and anyone and everyone wearing their worst— in other words, a closely observed satire on modern mores. What kind of 4th of July parade would you expect from the town made famous by Wicked Tuna and The Perfect Storm?

Watching my first parade after a decade-long absence, I found that although the fishing industry is all but gone the fishing heritage lives on. Albeit in a cleaned up, family-friendly way. It’s still about homemade costumes and floats, and it’s still about the kids—the Horribles distribute candy as they march along—but mostly, it’s still all about being out and about with friends and neighbors.

Parting shot: The staff of The Blackburn Tavern take a quick break to watch the parade go by. tavern_staff

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