Boys Run the Show for These Can't-Miss Ptown Events


If it were up to the boys, summer would never end in Ptown, an endless wave of beach vibes, hot summer nights and good times with your queer family. But the boys of Ptown – and visitors alike – know that community is the true essence of Provincetown, a beachscape where everyone feels welcome. Come for the events and stay for the communal bonding in Provincetown this summer season – a dreamy getaway at the tip of Cape Cod. Check out these annual events that are certain to take an exciting getaway to the next level. And the best part? They are found only in Ptown.


Though this year's Frolic already happened, the annual summer event is every June and features five days of community building and queer joy for BIPOC queer men. The celebratory event began in 2016 as "Men of Melanin Magic" – a grassroots effort to bring queer men of color together – and has since grown into "a renaissance of curated events and programming that have shifted the cultural landscape of queer life." The grassroots effort has since spilled over to Ptown, and Frolic is a smash hit for queer men of color, drawing diverse LGBTQ+ people from every stretch of the country. This year's "Olympic Gaymes" theme drew over 600 attendees.

"The event continues to grow," said Ronnie Smith, Director of Operations and Frolic Weekend Coordinator during a Zoom interview. "The reason it keeps growing is because Frolic is all-encompassing: it is not just for partying or one type of event. There is a diverse set of events [at Frolic] – speed dating, barbecues, and, of course, dance parties. But it is a well-rounded weekend of events to help fill the gap for people who want to do other things than just party."

Independence Week - Revolution

It couldn't be summer in Provincetown without Independence Week, a renowned 4th of July circuit party happening June 29-July 6. This year's theme is Revolution. Soak up the sun and sand with this banger of events: not only will there be a full line-up of your favorite international DJs, dance parties and pool parties, but the friends and community bonding is unmatched. Queer men from all parts of the country come together for an unforgettable week-long celebration that will be sure to light your firecracker. Don't miss this beloved annual tradition that brings the queer community together on the beaches of Ptown for a 4th of July celebration unlike any other.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Crown & Anchor, a watering hole for the queers of Ptown. Jonathan Hawkins, Director of Events, gets giddy about what makes Ptown such a fun place to visit during Independence Week: "It's a magical place with lots of queerness and joy."

Bear Week

Every kind of person is celebrated for their unique qualities in Ptown and that's why Bear Week is a beloved tradition. Cubs, otters, bears – and all the other gay men's playful identifiers – come together for a weeklong celebration of every kind of queer. And perhaps the best part of this year's Bear Week lineup is special guest Nina West! The beloved "RuPaul's Drag Race" superstar will take to the historic Town Hall stage for a one-night-only performance. But Miss West plans to stick around all week for guest appearances – and to play host – at the week's events, including the Otter Pop Pool Party. Mark your calendars for July 13-20, and join in all the Bear-rific fun you and your queer pals will have at Ptown's one and only Bear Week.

Provincetown Carnival

This year's Carnival, running August 17-24, is Ptown's 46th annual celebration of community, self-expression, and creativity. The long-running parade and event week was started by the Provincetown Business Guild in 1978 and is the original summer festival to commemorate the true essence of Ptown. "It was an invitation to the LGBTQ+ community," said Trevor Pittinger, Executive Director of PBG, who oversees the Carnival celebration. "It's the event that most directly expresses the spirit of Provincetown: a community of artists and people outside the mainstream who come together to be yourself, feel safe, and be celebrated for that."

This year's theme of Renaissance X Revolution is particularly significant in that it is an election year, a time when the people come together to vote on the new direction of our country. Just as our country was born in revolution and celebrates the freedom to be yourself, this year's Ptown Carnival celebrates that same revolutionary spirit, Pittinger concludes over a Zoom call. Pro tip: come dressed in your most colorful outfit for this year's costume contest, and watch the parade roll down Commercial Street.

Fall Favorites

For a kinkier affair, Mates Leather Weekend, October 3-7, celebrates queer men in uniform – and of all kinds! Not only are events centered around leather and boots, but boys come dressed in their favorite uniforms. There will also be a contest for First Mate – the winner receives a $500 cash prize, and of course, is crowned First Mate for the year of Mates Leather Weekend.

Speaking of the fall season, Spooky Bear Halloween is the best New England fright fest you'll find. With ghoulish parties and dances, haunted houses and costume balls, this Ptown Halloween extravaganza, running October 31-November 3, lets you and your friends get your fright on with the community.

Alternative Queer Events

For those looking for a slower pace than parties and parades, don't miss this year's Tennessee Williams Theater Festival (September 26-29), a week-long celebration of the lauded playwright's greatest works. Williams, an out gay playwright in the 1930s and '40s, famously vacationed on the beaches of Ptown, expanding the town's legendary status as America's oldest continuous art colony. Or check out the Food & Wine Festival, November 7-10, a foray into the rich history of Ptown as a whaling and fishing community – and the tantalizing flavors that came over on ships from European travelers.

Finish out the year in Ptown with Holly Folly, a beloved tradition of food and community and a reflection of the town's European holiday market roots. Ring in the New Year with First Light, including a fireworks show at dusk off of MacMillan Pier followed by a dance party. And finally, kick off the New Year at the infamous Annual Provincetown Polar Plunge the next morning to commemorate the year ahead.

Sponsored by the Provincetown Office of Tourism.

by Roger Porter

Read These Next