Tens of thousand of merrymakers begin to descend on Provincetown this week for the annual rite of summer's passage - Ptown's annual Carnival Week extravaganza. It is a time where village homes are transformed and individual and group costuming rivals that of Rio and New Orleans. More than a few Elvis impersonators and run away brides are likely to be seen this year as the theme, "Viva Las Vegas" sets the moods for the gaiety and street scene.
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. Designated so because of so many firsts, Ptown enjoys a first in American history, being the first landing spot of the Pilgrims. Many recognize the town as first to officiate gay and lesbian marriages and as a primary destination welcoming diverse population who revel in rich artistic traditions, history, beautiful landscapes, and a progressive cultural scene.
This year's Carnival Week is packed with variety, humor and the outrageous. The fun began on August 17, with a Pre-Carnival party hosted by Svedka Vodka, in a complex of bars, including the town's largest nightclub, the town's only video bar, a cabaret venue, as well as a heated pool and poolside bar.
The official Carnival Week got underway Sunday with the Rehab Pool Party at The Brass Key Guesthouse, part of a unique resort made up of nine restored buildings, which surround a courtyard, infinity pool and large in-ground spa. For a $10 entrance fee participants can soak up the sun poolside and recover from the night's previous activities or prepare for what's to come. The Rehab Pool party will last from 2pm to 5pm, and is the best way for first time Carnival-goers to "get their feet wet."
Carnival activities today include the Vendor Fair at Bas Relief Park, on Bradford Street at the Portuguese Square. Visitors can peruse local arts and crafts for the perfect, eclectic memento from their trip. The fair begins at noon and runs until 4pm. Monday evening, at the Boat Slip Resort, is the Provincetown's Original Costume Party, that will sure to be a highlight of the week. The night gets underway at 9pm and goes until midnight, the theme being "Don't Be Yourself." Judges will award CASH prizes, sashes, crowns and even a chance to be in the ever-popular Carnival Parade. Admission is $10.
Tuesday brings even more fun to the Carnival agenda with the "Hound Dog Party" at the Watership Inn, from 3pm - 5pm, where guests can pay a $10 admission to enjoy cocktails, beer, wine and light food. Directly following, from 5:30pm - 9pm there's the Mirage Boat Cruise at MacMillian Pier for those who'd like to get out on the open water. Admission is $25 and DJ Lee Thornhill will be providing the music. Another female-exclusive option is the "Luck Be a Lady Sailing Cruise" from 6:30-8:30pm, also at MacMillan Pier. It's ladies choice on this intimate women-only cruise on the iconic Viking Princess around Provincetown Harbor, as attendees can enjoy beer, wine, food and the views of Ptown's coastline. Closing the night from 10pm-1am is the "So Gay Dance Party" ($10) where partygoers can dance the night away with Resident DJ and Billboard Magazine reporter David LaSalle. A portion of each admission charge goes to benefit the Provincetown Business Guild & Girl Power.
Don't miss the "Tropicana Las Vegas GLAM Clambake" on Wednesday at 5:30pm, ($55-$75) at the Crown & Anchor, followed at 6:30pm by "Jubilee Drag Bingo' at the Unitarian Universalist Meeting House. Another ladies-exclusive event, The "Flamingo A-Go-Go Dance Party," will be held at the Pied Bar, where ladies are encouraged to wear white or pink, with prizes for the most creatively dressed. (9:30pm-1am, $10). Wednesday night, Club Purgatory will host the first annual "Sin City Leather Dance Party" from 10:30pm-1am ($5).
Thursday is the crown jewel of the week, as it is the 35th annual Carnival Parade down Commercial Street through of throng of thousands of revelers. Join Provincetown residents in taking in the sights, sounds and incredible pageantry of this procession down the city's main drag from 3pm-5: 30pm. Be sure to look for the last float of the procession announcing the theme for the 2014 Carnival week!
Friday, August 23rd concludes Carnival Week, where the "Hangover Drag Brunch" at Patio American Grill from Noon-2pm at Patio American Grill, benefitting the Helping Our Women charity, has the crowds taking pictures and sharing the laughs of letting it all go. Directly following is the "Going to the Chapel Inn Stroll," with various Inns around town participating, all of whose locations can be found inside of the Carnival Booklet (2pm-5pm, $25). The evening brings comedian Kate Clinton's "Sis-Boom-Bah" show from 7-10pm at the Crown & Anchor for an admittance fee of $45. The week's festivities conclude late with two separate parties, the first option being the "Circus Circus" Closing Dance Party from 9pm-1am ($15), at the Crown & Anchor. The second is the "Girl Party Black and Red" Dance Party, from 9:30pm-1am ($10), at the Pied Bar. As with each frolicking day, Tea Dance at the Boatslip Resort and late hours at the Vault and Little Bars or dancing at the Atlantic House, keep the beat continuously rocking. For additional information on the week's events, please visit http://ptown.org/Carnival.asp.