Satisfy your sweet desires in America’s First Destination.
PROVINCETOWN, Mass. – Tens of thousands of merrymakers will descend on Provincetown, Aug. 15-21, for the annual rite of summer’s passage – the 37th Annual Carnival Week extravaganza! More than a few sweethearts will search the town for their Candy King or Queen, as this year’s theme, “Candyland,” sets the mood for fearless revelry and a super sweet street scene. The schedule is filled with adventures for all, including a vendor fair, boat cruise, dance parties, inn stroll and the grand finale, the Carnival Parade!
To kick off a great week of festivities, begin your Carnival celebration by witnessing the natural beauty of the Cape Cod Sand Dunes at Art’s Dune Tour Sunset Wine & Cheese Reception, Saturday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m. Professional and amateur photographers are welcome anytime, as there’s no better time for a photo shoot than the sand dunes in the place Lavender Magazine called America’s “Best Summer Vacation Destination.”
The fun continues Sunday, Aug. 16, as the boys and girls board the Shake Your Bon Bon Boat Cruise at Macmillan Pier. You never know what you’ll see as you dance to the beats of DJ Lee Thornhill, while taking in the amazing Ptown sunset. Boarding begins at 5:30 p.m. for a 6 p.m. departure. The cruise will return for 9 p.m.
If you love Broadway, you’ll adore Tony Award winner Bill Porter, star of the hottest musical in NYC, Kinky Boots. He’s on stage at the Crown & Anchor, Sunday through Tuesday.
More fun comes Monday, Aug. 17, 12-4 p.m., at the Hubba Bubba Vendor Fair, at Bas Relief behind Town Hall. Come be a part of the hottest local artists, handcrafts and antiques fair the comics have to offer and meet the vendors and their unique collections. This is a great opportunity to understand how Ptown has become known as such a melting pot of fantastic art and community participation.
A staple of Carnival week is the always outrageous, annual pool dip, and this year’s gathering will be even sweeter. Don’t miss the Liquid Candy Pool PartyMonday, Aug. 17, at the Brass Key Guesthouse. Dive into this wet and wild event featuring swimsuit entertainment, dancer boys and the amazing DJ Andy Morris.
The excitement continues into the night with the Sugar and Spice Costume Ball, 9 p.m. to midnight, at the Boatslip Resort. Celebrate the 37th anniversary of Carnival at the original Carnival Costume Ball, hosted by Provincetown’s very own Hat Sisters. Costumes will be judged for the following cash prizes: Male – 1st – $500, 2nd – $200, Female – 1st – $500, 2nd – $200, along with crowns, sashes and the honor of a float ride in the ever popular Carnival parade.
Up next is the daytime Good and Plenty Watership Inn Party, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 3-5 p.m. Libations a plenty and a surprise guest star to entertain with friends, new and old, at one of the founding Carnival Inn parties.
Finish the night at the Eye Candy Dance Party, at The A House. Spot your favorite eye candy and show off your assets, as you groove into the night with this amazing dance party. Enjoy the night with Resident DJ and Billboard Magazine reporter David LaSalle.
On Wednesday, Aug. 19, humorist and this year’s Carnival Grand Marshall, Sandra Bernhard, makes a stop in Candyland on her international tour with her new live show, “Sandra Bernhard is #blessed.” The world-renowned comedian will showcase her talents at the Provincetown Town Hall.
“Sandra Bernhard is #blessed,” spotlights her own unique, sharp blend of hysterical insight and outspoken views, with rock-n-roll, cabaret, stand-up and a little burlesque. Bernhard’s show, which also features her band, The Flawless Zircons, has been selling out venues in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and all points in between. Opening for Bernhard is award-winning cabaret performer Anne Steele.
From 1991-1996, Bernhard played Nancy Bartlett – the first openly gay character on a network sitcom – on Roseanne, while she has also had guest starring or recurring roles on numerous other shows, including Good Christian Belles, Hot in Cleveland, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Crossing Jordan, Law & Order: SVU, Will & Grace, The Sopranos, The L Word, Ally McBeal, The Larry Sanders Show, and The Richard Pryor Show. She has appeared more than 30 times on Late Night with David Letterman and has been a regular guest of Howard Stern’s since the early ’80s. Bernhard’s film credits include Martin Scorsese’s iconic The King of Comedy, for which she was awarded Best Supporting Actress by the National Society of Film Critics.
More Wednesday night revelry can be had at Club Purgatory on 11 Carver St., from 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Strut your stuff as the dance floor keeps gyrating, and show off this summer’s hottest leather attire at this third annual event.
The crown jewel of Carnival week continues the festivities with the presentation of the 37th annual Provincetown Carnival Parade! The always outrageous and exotic entourage kicks off Thursday, Aug. 20, at 3 p.m., at the Harbor Hotel and will travel down historic Commercial Street, greeting throngs of thousands of revelers. The street scene is one of the most costumed affairs in America, so be sure to capture your memories with pics. Parade-goers should be sure to catch the parade’s last float, which traditionally unveils next year’s Carnival theme. For more information from the Provincetown Business Guild on how to ride or walk in the parade, click here.
Another way to take in quintessential New England is the Laffy Taffy Inn Stroll, Friday, Aug. 21. Check out some of Ptown’s charming guesthouses like Aerie House & Beach Club, Gifford House, White Wind Inn, Sunset Inn, and the Queen Vic Guesthouse. Proprietors truly let their imagination run wild in decorating their establishments in accordance with the year’s Carnival theme for the enjoyment of participants in this stroll of local inns.
For one venue with elaborate events each day of Carnival, find your sweetest moments at Ptown’s venerable Crown and Anchor, which sets the tone from start to finish with a lineup of can’t-miss dance nights, featuring noted International DJs keeping the dance floor gyrating. The Candyland-themed parties begin on Saturday, Aug. 15, with Good & Fruity featuring DJ Grind and continue through Carnival week with Bubblicious on Sunday (8/16) with DJ Blacklow, Sugar Shack on Monday (8/17) with DJ Edil, Candy Crush on Tuesday (8/18) with DJ James Anthony, Sugar Daddies Vault At Large on Wednesday (8/19) with DJ Chris Racine, and All-Man Joy on Thursday (8/20) with DJ Mickey Friedmann. Carnival officially concludes with the Cotton Candy Closing Party on Friday (8/21) with DJ Ivan Gomez spinning tunes for the dance floor, while VJ Tom Yaz will help you enjoy the final hour countdown for Carnival week with great video in the Crown’s Wave Bar. This party is always a favorite and guaranteed to help all Carnival-goers conclude the week with a bang. For those who just cannot leave, don’t worry, on Saturday (8/22), there will be the Lifesavers Recovery Party with DJ Twisted Dee to help rebound from the non-stop action.
Carnival Week has grown to be the first and longest running festival of its kind in New England, always hosted in Provincetown, known as America’s First Destination. The town is designated so because of its so many “firsts” in American history, including the place of first landing for the Pilgrims 400 years ago. Many also recognize the town as first to officiate gay and lesbian marriages and as a primary destination welcoming diverse populations who revel in rich artistic traditions, history, beautiful landscapes, and a progressive cultural scene. This is a great time to revel with your LGBTQ community friends and neighbors, where harmony is a way of life on the Cape.
For a year-round schedule of events in Ptown, visit ptowntourism.com/events.