Philadelphia Continues to Climb Greased Poles...but Legally this Time!

The grease pole at the Italian Market Festival has been defeated!

May 21, 2018

It's happened, ladies and gentlemen.

They tried to stop us back in February; they greased those poles up good.  But Crisco didn't deter us, did it?  We tried to climb those greased poles anyway.  

And last weekend saw a solid two days' worth of similar attempts...but, this time, greased pole climbing was organized, encouraged, and actually the entire point

That's right...the Italian Market Festival was May 19th and 20th, and featured the yearly spectacle in which dozens sign up to participate:  Climbing a greased pole.

It's a tradition known in Italy as the Albero Della Cuccagna, wherein teams attempt to climb to the very top of a pole coated in grease.  The winner can receive meat, cheese, gifts, or even money...not to mention the coveted honor of succcessfully completing the climb.

It took place at 9th and Montrose Piazza in South Philadelphia's Italian Market.  The pole itself is over 30 feet high, and covered in slippery lard which makes finding a handhold virtually impossible.


Someone did it this year.  A team was successful.  Philadelphia has defeated the greased pole, in the spirit of a Super Bowl win, general disobedience, and a habit of balking authority when we don't want to be told what to do.

Check out the victorious video below, posted on the Instagram account of bellavistan.

Victory! #greasepole #imfest #winner #finally #sundayafternoon #salamiandcheese #--------#ourphilly #billypenngram

A post shared by Claudia Archer (@bellavistan) on

Congratulations to the tenacious team, and thanks for continuing our stellar reputation as a city which won't take no for an answer...even when things are coated in Crisco.