Story by Marianne Salza
Revere resident, Pascal Gangi, celebrated the blessing of the fishing waters at the North End waterfront by creating two floats for the August 14 Fisherman’s Feast of the Madonna Del Soccorso di Sciacca. Gangi’s vibrant displays featured a swordfish swimming through a coral bed – iconic elements in the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of Sicily. Bystanders cheered from their windows and the sidewalk as the floats — accompanied by performers from Beverly Richards Dance Center, in East Boston — paraded down Fleet Street.
“The Peppe Nappa float represents the king of the Carnevale di Sciacca. Peppe Nappa usually comes to the town of Sciacca on a boat. He comes bringing with him the joy and happiness of the carnevale from Sciacca to Boston,” explained Gangi. “This year, we decided to portray Peppe Nappa on a pile of fishing nets filled with fish and confetti.”
The second float depicts a fisherman on an adventure. His boat is named “Ray Bono,” in honor of a late captain of the Madonna del Soccorso Society, which Gangi is a member of.
“The float represents harmony, and respecting the ocean and nature,” described Gangi, President of The Artistic Group: A Little Taste of Sicily, a Revere organization.
Gangi spent two years constructing the 12-15-foot tall floats with the assistance of ten friends, using wood, chicken wire, Styrofoam, and paper mache. He began building the mechanical movement structures during the pandemic to pass the time.
“My home town of Sciacca, Italy, inspired me to create floats,” Gangi expressed. “The carnevale festival is amazing; and not being able to participate there, I wanted to bring the tradition here.”
Gangi, immigrated to the United States at age ten, and is a Revere High School graduate Class of 2009. He has participated in over 14 parades since he began designing floats in 2010. Now Gangi works for a medical robotics company in Boston’s West End, developing arm braces that help restore mobility in those paralyzed by strokes, nerve injuries, cerebral palsy, and other neurological diseases.
“My love of problem solving and being creative led me to my current job and passion of building mechanical structures and movements,” said Gangi. “I love building floats because it is a fun pastime that allows me to be creative and expressive. I also am able to spread the culture and tradition of my hometown.”