Summer 2009 in Provincetown, MA

By: Chuck Thurman

Located on the outermost tip of Cape Cod and surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on all three sides, Provincetown, Massachusetts ( is an incredible tourist destination with a fascinating cultural history and extraordinary entertainment offerings. This season, Provincetown plays host to a myriad of events and activities that celebrate its boundless natural beauty and eclectic arts and culture scene. A brief look at Summer 2009 is below.

Provincetown Celebrates:

Marriage Equality (for summer nuptials and all year long)

Since the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts in 2004, Provincetown has earned the distinction of "the place to get married," issuing more than 2,000 marriage licenses to date. Today, Provincetown may be the easiest place to get married as the Town Clerk recently announced the ability to file applications for marriage licenses on Fridays (previously Town Hall was closed on Fridays, which sometimes added a day to the required three day waiting period). Given Provincetown's beautiful seaside setting, colorful environment and consistent rating as the premier gay destination in America, it makes for an ideal wedding spot.

11th Annual Provincetown International Film Festival (June 17-21)

Provincetown_film_fest As the stomping ground for performers as diverse as Billie Holiday and Barbra Streisand, Provincetown is no stranger to legendary work. As such, it has become the host of one of the entertainment world's most popular film festivals. This summer's opening night features a screening of Woody Allen's "WHATEVER WORKS," starring Larry Charles, Evan Rachel Wood, Patricia Clarkson and Ed Begley, Jr. (

Portuguese Festival (June 25-28)

Provincetown_portuguese_festival Established in the early 19th century and strengthened over the years, Provincetown's vibrant Portuguese community continues to influence the area's culture and community. Celebrate Provincetown's Portuguese heritage with four days of food, games, music, dance and art. (

Fourth of July Weekend (July 3-5)

As the site of the Pilgrims' first landing in the New World, Provincetown is a hotbed of Fourth of July activities and celebrations. Set off over Provincetown Harbor, the annual fireworks display (July 4) is the culmination of a day's worth of parades, bands, live music and performances. The fireworks celebration is funded by private and public donations. Volunteers are still working to raise the remaining funds. Donations can be made directly to Provincetown Fireworks Gift Fund, 260 Commercial Street, Provincetown, MA 02657.

Family Week (August 1-8)

Provincetown_family_equality As an organization that promotes community building for same-sex parents raising children, the Family Equality Council sponsors a week of family-oriented picnics, clambakes, activities, unity and pride parades, and more. Events are open to all families. (

Carnival ( August 16-22)

Rivaling the diversity and energy of Rio, Provincetown celebrates Carnival every August. This year's theme is the "Summer of Love: Peace, Love and Go-Go Boots," a nod to the 30th anniversary of Woodstock. Events include DJs spinning dance music, karaoke, drag king and queen competitions, the infamous Gay Pride Parade with floats down Commercial Street, art exhibits and more. (

Lily Tomlin Fundraiser for Pilgrim Bark Park (August 29th)

Pilgram_dog_bark_provincetown To celebrate Provincetown's pet-friendly nature and raise funds for Pilgrim Bark Park, a new dog park, award-winning actress, comedienne, and longtime Provincetown visitor Lily Tomlin will perform on MacMillan Wharf. (

Arts & Theater Happenings in Renown Artist's Colony:

Provincetown Theater

Provincetown_theater Long considered the birthplace of modern American Theater, Provincetown is home to the Provincetown Theater, where writers like Tennessee Williams, Norman Mailer and Truman Capote, and performers like Billie Holiday, Marlon Brando and Al Pacino displayed their earliest work. Continuing the long-standing tradition, Provincetown Theater offers plays, events, festivals, workshops and classes open to the public throughout the summer months. (

Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM)

Provincetown_Art_Association Founded in 1914 by painter Charles Webster Hawthorne and other residents to collect, exhibit and honor the work of Provincetown's artists, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) is now home to one of today's most important collections of 20th century art. During the summer months, PAAM presents their annual Spring Consignment Auction of rare and vintage work; the Secret Garden Tour of Provincetown's hidden horticultural gems; as well as lectures and classes from well-known artists. (

Free Gallery Strolls

As America's oldest artist's colony, thanks its beautiful light, natural landscapes and rustic scenes, Provincetown is home to many of the country's most prolific—and promising—artists and writers. From the incredible dune shacks where famous writers like Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams sought inspiration to the downtown Gallery District on world-famous Commercial Street, Provincetown is rich in artistic tradition. Take a stroll down Commercial Street every Friday night this summer for art gallery open houses, where art enthusiasts are encouraged to browse the galleries and meet the owners and artists. (

Provincetown's Great Outdoors:

Cape Cod National Seashore Park

Cape_Cod_National_Seashore _Park Surrounded by federally-protected beaches on three sides, Provincetown is home to 18 miles of sand, offering relaxing and scenic landscapes, gentle surf and the occasional whale sighting. Don't miss out on Provincetown's famous sunsets—one of the few places on the East Coast to see the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean. (

Art's Dune Tours

Cape_Cod_art_dunes_tour As Provincetown's only tour company providing four wheel drive access to the dunes, Art's allows you to explore the dune shacks where writers like Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams, isolated from the rest of the world, created their most influential work. You can race through the sand and beach grass in a modern off-roading SUV, where the option of pulling over for a traditional sunset clambake is always available. (

Dolphin Fleet-Whale Watching

Dolphin_Fleet_Whale_Watching_cape_town As the closest port to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary—a federally-protected habitat home to whales, dolphins, sea turtles, deep sea fish and sea birds—Provincetown is no stranger to incredible marine life sightings. And this year is poised to be one of this most amazing yet. Dolphin Fleet offers daily tours and has its own public education and research programs. (

Bird Watching

Mass_audubon_bird_watching_cape_cod With two-thirds of the town's resources protected and managed by the Cape Cod National Seashore Park, Provincetown is rife with more than 250 species of birds and waterfowl. Beech Forest Trail is the perfect spot for avid birdwatchers, as it is a major rest stop for semi-annual shore and seabird migrations along the East Coast. Additionally, there are 40 square miles of protected woodlands, ponds, wetlands and salt marshes to whet your bird watching appetite. (

For more information visit:, friend Provincetown on facebook for news and event updates all summer long.