Provincetown Carnival Week 2016
Let’s start with a little history about Provincetown Carnival.
The third week in August once ominously signaled “August-itis”, the pre-Labor Day doldrums when tourist-dollars began to slump precipitously. In 1978 the Provincetown Business Guild (comprised of local business owners) wanted to attract an untapped market—one which would keep local Ptown businesses afloat.
Ptown’s local business owners wanted to market to the LGBTQ audience directly, and rallied against the Chamber of Commerce to do so. While today Ptown is one of the world’s LGBTQ meccas, not all of town were keen on furthering the civil rights agenda. That said, they allowed the parade with financial interest trumping the civil topics that the parade brought about.
Originally, the town opinion on ‘Let’s have a parade!’ was not well received. “We were told in no uncertain terms that locals did not like the idea of a gay parade, they did not want it to happen, and we should be prepared for some rock throwing. They even told us the corner where that would happen.” Undeterred, the fearless few made their way to the center of town. As they approached ‘the’ corner they held their breath expecting the worst. “We could not believe it,” says Herbie (Hintzer, one of the parade founders), “We got a huge round of applause from everyone.” Thus the birth of both Carnival and the Provincetown Business Guild (PBG), formed to encourage and support GLBT tourism.
Today, Provincetown Carnival is one of the largest outdoor celebrations in Massachusetts and was named Best Festival on Cape Cod in 2013. Carnival attracts around 90,000 revelers from all walks of life, in a celebration of our diversity.
Each year the parade is given a theme and this year it was “Back to the 80s.” We took the parade day off from sailing to participate in the parade and show our 80s sailing looks with mullet wigs and sailor hats. Our week was otherwise packed with lots of day sailing in fantastic warm weather.
With the Momentum still in the air from Carnival, We had special visitors to the town, Hillary Clinton and Cher. It was quite a carnival to remember!