Provincetown Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Carnival

Vacationer Staff
Written by Vacationer Staff

The Provincetown Business Guild, one of the oldest LGBTQ tourism marketing organizations in the country, presents the 40thanniversary Carnival, August 11-18, 2018. Started by a group of LGBTQ Inn-keepers in 1978 who wanted to activate and enliven the Provincetown community, Carnival celebrates Provincetown’s creative legacy and history as a welcoming community and is now one of the largest LGBTQ celebrations in the country.

This year’s Mardi Gras by the Sea Carnival events include numerous dance, boat and costume parties, a live performance by Betty Who and the centerpiece of Carnival: the parade along Commercial Street.

The Carnival parade will feature 40 grand marshals to honor and commemorate 40 years of personal expression, activism, entertainment and Provincetown’s contribution to the global advancement of the LGBTQ community.

“When we looked at the last 40 years of LGBTQ Carnival celebrations and the response from our business members and local community, we were overwhelmed by the number of deserving individuals and organizations,” said Fred Latasa Nicks, board president of the Provincetown Business Guild. “It just made sense to recognize people who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQ community in Provincetown and around the world.”

The “40 for 40” grand marshals range in age from 17 to 80 and include legendary film director John Waters, comedian and activist Kate Clinton, LGBTQ rights activist Urvashi Vaid, drag icon Varla Jean Merman, award-winning author Michael Cunningham and Pulitzer-prize winning playwright, Tony Kushner. The grand marshals will be honored at a celebration at The Shack, Provincetown’s new LGBTQ Welcome Center and will participate in the parade on specially-designed floats.

For a full list of the 40 grand marshals, please

Carnival kick offs with a Krewe of Barkus: Welcome to Town cocktail party for guests and their dogs on the afternoon of August 11.

Carnival week events include:

Sunday, August 12:

  • Carnival Pride Flag Raising Ceremony
  • Opening Party Boat Cruise D’ Krewes Sunset Boat Ride
  • Opening Costume Party: The Nights of Bacchus

Monday, August 13:

  • Le Vendeur Marche Par La Mer (local art & antique market)
  • Rajin Cajun Carnival Pool Party
  • Carnival Gessellschaft “King Cakes”

Tuesday, August 14:

  • 30th Annual Voodoo Party
  • Fat Tuesday: Boxers and Beads at the A-house

Wednesday, August 15:

  • Northern DecaDance featuring Betty Who

Thursday, August 16:

  • Carnival Mardi Gras by the Sea Parade
  • Poseidon at Purgatory Underwear Party

Friday, August 17:

  • Nights of Adonis Closing Masquerade Party

VIP tickets are $120 and include all Carnival events (except Northern DecaDance with Betty Who), a VIP gift bag and priority event express access. Individual event tickets range from $10 to $35. Tickets available at the door for all events (based on availability).

For the full Carnival schedule and to buy tickets, visit

About the author

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Staff

Vacationer Magazine writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest LGBTQ travel articles to help inspire and inform.

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