Provincetown’s Gay Pride, Carnival Still Scheduled for This Summer

Provincetown by Danita Delimont / Getty Images

From As two key June events are scaled back or shuttered this year by organizers, due to the threat of COVID-19, or the cornoavirus, organizers of Gay Pride in June and Carnival in August say those are still on for the moment.

“As of now, we have not made any decisions with respect to PRIDE or Carnival,” Provincetown Business Guild Executive Director Bob Sanborn said Thursday.

In mid-February, the business guild announced its top four events for 2020: Provincetown Gay Pride, June 5-7; Carnival 2020 Week, Aug. 15-23; Holly Folly 2020, Dec. 4-6; First Light Provincetown, Dec. 30-Jan. 3, 2021.

“We are viewing events over a 30-to-45-day horizon,” Sanborn said. “We remain in a wait-and-see mode, and ready to make decisions as necessary.”

In mid-March, organizers of the Provincetown Portuguese Festival announced its intentions to drastically scale back this year’s scheduled June 25-28 festival by eliminating all food venues, and limiting activities in Portuguese Square and processions. “We will focus on decoration efforts in the spirit of a celebration and strive to make the traditional Blessing of the Fleet possible,” organizers said.

Likewise, the Provincetown International Film Festival announced on March 23 that the on-location festival scheduled for June 17-21 is cancelled but that other programs later in the year are planned.

“The health and safety of our staff, patrons, audience and everyone involved in bringing the festival to life is our highest priority,” Provincetown Film Society CEO Rachael Brister and film festival Artistic Director Lisa Viola said in a statement. “We hope to present programming later this year that not only moves our mission forward but will also galvanize our community at a time when the need to come together will not only be welcome, but essential.”

The business guild, which promotes Provincetown to LGBTQ travelers, supports the current shelter-in-place directives and measures to stop nonessential businesses, Sanborn said. The guild is also leading, along with the Provincetown and Truro chambers of commerce, a joint effort to address the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Having formed in the last few weeks, the joint effort is meant to find or create programs and resources for displaced workers, promote financial assistance for local businesses, evaluate tourism and marketing efforts, provide tourism data to businesses and work with nonprofit organizations and local event organizers, according to a statement.

The tourism industry in Provincetown has been exceeding $200 million annually, probably $250 million, and getting bigger, town Tourism Director Anthony Fuccillo said in December. Diners, for example, spend at least $80 million a year in food and drink in Provincetown, according to Fuccillo’s calculations. Lodgers spend $36 million a year in Provincetown.

Accordingly, Provincetown’s room and meals tax revenues tend to significantly ramp up in May, June and July, and then peak in August, September and October, according to a town tourism report for 2018.

On the guild’s calendar of events in the next few months is the April 15 start of whale watching season; the start of the fast ferry service from Boston on May 15, and a handful of events not sponsored by the guild.

In other events, the Broto Conference about art, climate and science has been moved from its May 16-17 in-town date to an online version. Twenty Summers, a series of talks and programs about art and culture, has been moved from a start date in May to a tentative start date of Sept. 25.

“The Business Guild is also looking long term and beginning to send out messages of hope and resilience on social media that while we are separated today, Provincetown will be here when this is over,” Sanborn said.

Reported by Mary Ann Bragg for