Heading to the Cape? Check Out These LGBTQ Summer Attractions in P-Town

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Carnival Parade goers in 2014  Photo: Daniel McKeon

Carnival Parade goers in 2014
Photo: Daniel McKeon

By: Clara Lefton/TRT Reporter—

BOSTON, Mass.— Summer is almost upon us, and Provincetown, Mass. will be full of events geared towards the LGBTQ community in Cape Cod’s well-known artist colony. From family events to athletics, charity fundraisers and entertainment, there is something for everyone. Here are seven ideas for making the most of your vacation in Provincetown.

A Night at the Chef’s Table

The AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod (ASGCC) will host this culinary fundraiser June 4 for the 24th year. Event organizers are expecting around 400 people to sign up for the fixed price $100-per person meals from over 50 local participating restaurants.

“One restaurant owner and an innkeeper started it back in 1992, and it’s becoming one of our biggest yearly fundraisers,” said Barry Cook, ASGCC events and volunteer coordinator. “It’s an event that’s done well and people expect it.”

All reservations are made ahead of time with a maximum amount of people per group capping at 12. All of the money will go directly to the agency to assist in supporting the organization’s outreach across 500 square miles. The funds also support their various programs and collaborations with the New England Alliance for Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health. Last year, A Night at the Chef’s Table brought in $42,000, but this year ASGCC is hoping for $50,000.

An announcement will be made in early May with all of the restaurant options. For more information, contact Cook at (508) 487-9445 or visit www.asgcc.org.

Provincetown International Film Festival

Carnival in Provincetown, Mass.  All photos: Daniel McKeon

Carnival in Provincetown, Mass.
All photos: Daniel McKeon

Now in its 17th year, the annual event features a variety of cinematography from features to shorts, and will be held this year from June 17-21. Many of the filmmakers are New England locals, and even more specifically from Cape Cod and Provincetown itself. This year’s final list of films for 2015 will be available in early May.

“This year, we’re focused on creating a more enhanced experience for our audience and coming up with more ways for audiences to engage with the filmmakers on a more intimate way through smaller and more events,” said Christine Walker, CEO of the Provincetown Film Society.

The festival is known for making a strong effort to appeal towards the LGBTQ community. In the past, titles like “The Case Against 8,” “Love Is Strange,” and “Queer Shorts,” have all been featured. Last year’s Huffington Post review even referred to the festival as having a “Delightfully queer lineup.”

To view ticket prices and for more information, visit www.ptownfilmfest.org or call (508) 487-FILM.

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders Annual Summer Party

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) will host its annual summer party July 25 at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum from 4 to 7 p.m. with a live and silent auction. Projected attendance will include over 500 supporters for this fundraiser, now in its 34th year.

“I always look forward to the opportunity to spend time with our amazing supporters at GLAD’s annual Summer Party,” GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu said. “It’s always a great celebration in one of the most scenic spots in Provincetown, and this year, we could be celebrating another historic victory as GLAD’s Mary Bonauto has just argued for national marriage equality before the U.S. Supreme Court.”

For more information about tickets and sponsorship opportunities, visit http://tiny.cc/tydhxx or contact Johnny Lin at jlin@glad.org.

OutRiders Boston to Provincetown Bike Ride

This annual bicycle trip, held June 22 this year, attracts people of a variety of ages and locations from the LGBTQ community. In the past people have come from across the United States as well as Canada, with a fairly even mix of men and women. The one-day trek is centered more on the journey than a race mentality. The ride typically begins with cyclists leaving Boston between 6 and 6:30 a.m. with the fastest arriving in Provincetown by 1:30 p.m. and the latest following by 7:30 p.m.

“There are some riders who are very fast and are very attuned to how fast they’re going,” said Lew Lasher, a member of the OutRiders organizing committee. “They can tell you how fast they did it last year and how fast they think they’re going to do it this year. Then there are other people who are more relaxed about it. There really is quite a variety among people who are willing to do a 126-mile bike ride within that population.”

Now in its 31st year, the event has grown from an initial eight riders to an estimated 150 people for 2015. Lasher attributes this to the recently deceased OutRiders’ founder Bob Bland and his outreach to LGBT bicycle clubs throughout the United States. Although most people use road bikes to complete the journey, no specific bike is required and it has been completed on both mountain and tandem bicycles.

Most participants spend at least one or two nights in Provincetown, yet it is possible to do the ride in one day by returning that night on the Provincetown Fast Ferry. The event is a supported ride, so organizers will make sure that any luggage is transported to Provincetown via a truck ahead of time.

Online registration is available for $70 with the deadline of June 9. For more information about signing up or becoming a volunteer, visit www.OutRiders.org or contact outridersb2p@gmail.com.

Provincetown Bear Week

Initially a 200-person event advertised by word of mouth and special interest magazines, Bear Week has grown to attract some 8,000 to 10,000 people every July, and will be held July 11-19, 2015. The event began 15 years ago as a way to get some friends together during the summer, and has now extended to nine days of festivities.

“They come from as far away as New Zealand and Australia and every country usually from Sweden to Spain to western Europe,” said Jim Burrows, founding director of Bear Week. “Occasionally some come from South America, Asia and the Middle East. We have somebody coming from South Africa this year. So, we basically have people from six of the seven continents. It’s a fairly international event and probably even 90 percent of the United States each year.”

Some well-known highlights include nightly 1 a.m. pizza and shows, entertainment, pool parties, a cruise and more.

“It was my first big ‘gay’ event and it was nice to see everyone being themselves and enjoying the festivities as they were planned,” said Drew Loughlin, a former Provincetown Bear Week attendee shared. “There were vacationing families with small children that come every year during Bear Week, and I was overwhelmed by how they were raising their children with acceptance and without prejudice.”

For more information and tickets, visit www.ptownbears.org.

Family Equality Council’s Family Pride Week

Family Week is the biggest yearly gathering of LGBTQ-identified parents and their families around the world. This year it will be held July 25 through August 1 and will celebrate two decades of success. Festivities will include a campfire, pajama movie night, cocktail hours, a beach picnic, family dancing, and more.

“Over the last decade or so we’re seeing that it’s not just parents and their kids who come,” said Kim Simes, the midwest regional manager of Family Equality Council. “We’re seeing the whole family: so we’re seeing grandmas, grandpas, aunts, and uncles. We’re seeing allies come along as well to celebrate this event, so that’s exciting.”

An expected 500 families will show up, many of whom make it an annual vacation. The event started off with a couple of dads who wanted to experience a Cape Cod summer outing in a space where they felt comfortable being with their kids as out LGBTQ-identified parents.

To register for the weekend, visit www.familyequality.org.

Provincetown’s Carnival

This LGBTQ extravaganza, held August 15-21 this year,  is full of a variety of events, but is best known for its themed parade. Over the years themes have included everything from Comic Book Capers to Viva Las Vegas and Jungle Fantasy. The parade features approximately 80 floats and hundreds of participants. This year’s theme is Candyland, not to be confused with the popular board game, but candy in general.

“My husband and I have been attending for at least the past 15 years,” said Susie Howard. “We love the festive atmosphere and energy of Carnival. Of course the parade is a highlight for us.”

Other attractions include a boat cruise, pool party, beach campfire, sunset beach dune tour, and more. The estimated attendance for the 2015 week is close to 100,000 people. Kathy Najimy, perhaps best known for roles in “Hocus Pocus” and “Sister Act,” will be the event’s headlining entertainer as well as the parade’s Grand Marshall.

“We call this Gay Mardi Gras because we don’t really have a Pride in June,” Provincetown Business Guild Executive Director Erin Atwood said. “This is our Pride event in August, but it’s a very, very big event. We’re celebrating 37 years this year that we’ve been existence. Every year it seems to get bigger and bigger.”

To learn more about ticket availability, visit www.ptown.org/carnival.

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