Provincetown Carnival, 'Enchanted Forest,' Set for August 17-25

Tuesday July 30, 2019

The Provincetown Business Guild (aka the Guild), one of the oldest LGBTQ business organizations in the country, has announced the schedule of the 41st annual Carnival, August 17—25, 2019, presented by Tito's Handmade Vodka. Special pre-Carnival kick-off events, in partnership with VACAYA, begin on August 15.

Started in 1978 by a group of LGBTQ innkeepers who wanted to enliven the Provincetown community, Carnival celebrates the town's creative legacy and history as a welcoming community and is now one of the largest LGBTQ celebrations in the country. This year's "Enchanted Forest" Carnival events include numerous dance, boat and costume parties; a performance by "RuPaul's Drag Race All-Stars" season 3 winner Trixie Mattel; and the centerpiece of Carnival: the parade along Commercial Street.

The Guild will be honoring comedian, actor, jazz singer and new Provincetown business owner Lea DeLaria as one of the parade's official grand marshals. DeLaria is a longtime staple of the Provincetown performance scene and recently purchased a club/bar space that has been a social hub for the lesbian community since the 1950s. She and her business partner have transformed it into The Club, a new restaurant and center for Ptown entertainment.

"Lea is the perfect choice as one of our Carnival Parade grand marshals," said Fred Latasa-Nicks, board president of the Provincetown Business Guild. "She has been performing here for decades and has a deep connection with our town. Lea has not only made significant contributions to the Provincetown business community, she is also an outspoken and fierce champion for LGBTQ rights."

Joining DeLaria as an official parade grand marshal is Trixie Mattel. Drag queen, singer, actor and winner of season 3 of RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars, Trixie is also the subject of a new documentary, Trixie Mattel: Moving Parts, that premiered this past spring at the Tribeca Film Festival. Trixie will also be performing during Carnival week on August 21 at Provincetown Town Hall.

In addition to the official grand marshals that are an annual feature of the Carnival Parade, the Provincetown Business Guild and its nonprofit arm, the Provincetown LGBTQ Welcome Center, have chosen Stonewall veteran and Cape Cod resident David Velasco Bermudez as an honorary grand marshal.

Provincetown has been a welcoming and safe haven for the LGBTQ community for almost one hundred years. Because of this historic LGBTQ significance, it is important to the Guild to honor the past and include informative programming alongside the celebratory parties. In partnership with the Stonewall National Museum & Archives, the Guild honored the 50th anniversary of Stonewall with programming during Provincetown Pride, including a panel discussion with Stonewall veterans and a self-guided poster installation throughout town that told the history of Stonewall.

The commemoration of Stonewall 50 and honoring the LGBTQ community's past will continue at Carnival through the honorary parade grand marshal and the annual Carnival flag raising at the Pilgrim Monument which will include a 100-foot section of the Gilbert Baker Rainbow25 Sea to Sea flag on loan from the Key West Business Guild. (Gilbert Baker designed and sewed the first rainbow flag in 1978).

"We are very fortunate to have forged relationships with both the Stonewall National Museum & Archives and the Key West Business Guild," said Bob Sanborn, executive director of the Provincetown Business Guild. "This is the largest section in existence of the rainbow flag that Gilbert Baker created for its 25th anniversary. It's an honor to host it in Provincetown and include this tangible piece of our history in our Carnival flag raising and reunification ceremony with VACAYA."

This special pre-Carnival ceremony will be held in partnership with VACAYA, a new US-based LGBTQ+ vacation company. Its inaugural cruise vacation will make history as the largest all-LGBTQ+ cruise ever to sail to Carnival, and the largest ship ever to overnight in Provincetown. On the morning of August 15, VACAYA's passengers will disembark and deliver the section of the Gilbert Baker Rainbow25 Sea to Sea flag to Provincetown for a reunification ceremony on the beach behind the Crown & Anchor.

"When we started planning our very first cruise, we looked at destinations around the globe. Ultimately, it was an easy choice for us," said VACAYA CEO Randle Roper. "Ptown is the #1 LGBTQ community in America and has been an incredible supporter of the community for over 40 years. As a US-based business, it made perfect sense for us to be here. VACAYA looks forward to sharing the magic of Ptown with our guests for many years to come."