The Beach Times

A Guide to Festivals and Events in P-Town
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Provincetown, or P-Town, has long been a favorite vacation destination for members of the LGBTQ community, principally due to the town's open and tolerant attitude. In fact, the growth of the area's gay and lesbian community goes all the way back to the 1920s, a time when the country was much less welcoming and tolerant. 

In those early years, vacationers and residents alike were able to experience the freedom to live their lives without judgment, while participating in the area's thriving arts and culture scene.

Today, Provincetown remains an inclusive town that retains its spot as a cultural and artistic hub on Cape Cod, while providing a whole series of events and festivals to celebrate the past, present, and future of the both the LGBTQ community and the area as a whole.

P-Town Spring Events on Cape Cod

Springtime means the return of good weather to the Cape and the people of P-Town know that this is when festival season begins. The event that kicks it all off is CabaretFest, which takes place in late May or early June and involves a series of concerts, parties, and workshops at The Crown & Anchor, a building containing seven different gay bars and nightclubs. Performances and parties tend to fill up quickly, so you'll want to book your tickets and Cape Cod vacation rental much earlier in the year.

The Provincetown International Film Festivalattracts filmmakers from all over the country, as well as the globe, and has become one of the United States' preeminent film festivals. The festival produces a wide variety of film types while doing an excellent job of highlighting the area's rich history as a fishing village, gay and lesbian haven, and colony of the arts.

Just as spring comes to an end, and summer kicks off, comes the Provincetown Portuguese Festival and Blessing of the Fleet, a four-day gathering filled with dancing, concerts, parades, and dining. The event ends with a bishop blessing the town's fishing and lobstering fleets for the year, which is a nod to the area's Portuguese fishing village heritage. 

Summer Events in Provincetown

As we move into summer, P-Town’s festivals surely take flight, and it all starts with the 4th of July Celebrations. Independence Week is full of events at the town's various nightclubs, including pool parties and performances by a plethora of gay DJs. If you plan on spending the entire week on the Cape, you can pick up a pass to every event at a discounted price. Independence Week also involves the annual fireworks display, which takes place at Provincetown Harbor.

Provincetown Bear Week is a nationally recognized festival that actually last for nine days and is full of pool parties and special events, including guest DJs and leather nights, at various local dance clubs. The festival is basically a week full of parties, and since it takes place in the middle of July, it's the perfect time to let loose.

Provincetown Festival ParadeFamilies come in all different forms and Provincetown's annual Family Week is the world's largest gathering of LGBTQ parents. This week-long event, held in late July and early August, provides family-friendly fun and welcomes families of all types. Games, crafts, dining, and workshops are all part of the festival, and there is even the chance for the kids to do some whale watching. 

The grandest festival in P-Town is Carnival Week. This week-long festival occurs in mid-August and attracts roughly 90,000 people to the town for its pool parties, cruises, parade, costume balls, and craft fairs. There are also plenty of dining options, along with nightlife that often features performances by icons of the gay community. If you plan on staying in Provincetown during the event, you'll have to reserve your vacation rentals well in advance.  

As summer comes to a close, the Afterglow Alternative Performance Arts Festival takes center stage. This festival highlights LGBTQ performers who might not have an extensive national following but are talented nonetheless. Close to 20 different performances take place over the week-long event.

Get to Know P-Town’s Fall Events

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean that P-Town shuts down, as there is always a reason to head to the Cape’s northern tip. Early to mid October means it's time for Women's Week, a multi-day festival with parties, comedy shows, special dining events, and concerts. There's even tours of the famous dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore followed by bonfires on the beach, which is an amazing experience for anyone who has never participated.

The Fantasia Fair is an October conference designed for those questioning their genders, nonbinary-gendered individuals, and trans-gendered people. Many of the events are free, and the conference as a whole is a support system for those who are considering or have already made a life-altering choice in regards to their gender. 

One of the area’s newer festivals is the Provincetown Annual Day of the Dead Performing Arts Festival. The festival begins in mid-October and runs into early November. Exhibitions taking place throughout this two-week period include workshops, a parade, a dance, and a theatre performance. Keep in mind that all of the events, except for the seminars, take place in early November.

Some Provincetown Winter Events

Christmas time in Provincetown is something considerably different, as the Holly Folly Weekend, a free event complete with a Speedo run on Commercial Street and performances by the Gay Men's Chorus, kicks it all off. This event extends throughout the first weekend of December and also provides an excellent chance to see the decorations that local businesses have been able to come up with throughout the year. You can also find some great deals when looking for that special Christmas gift.

If you don't have any plans for New Year's Eve, First Light Provincetown is well worth a gander. This festival takes place over a six-day period leading up to the big day and involves drag bingo, a polar bear swim, live music, comedy events, and theater performances. There's even a fireworks display on the beach and a dance party, so it's well worth having a look if you're in the area.

Something for Everyone

Other events taking place throughout the year in the area include a dance party at the Pilgrim Monument, a leather weekend, and an international jazz festival, so there's something for people in all walks of life.

While P-Town is the country’s preeminent gay and lesbian community, it is also highly inclusive, and there unquestionably is something for everyone. So, whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ community or you just want to experience something different on your vacation and show your support, Provincetown is unmistakably worth checking out in any season.



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