Monday, July 15, 2024

Escape to Tinseltown…we mean Provincetown this winter

From Mr. New England Leather to Holly Folly and the Polar Bear Plunge, the charming New England seaside LGBTQ haven is your tinsel town.

When late fall transitions into the festive season, Provincetown dresses up, parties on, and exudes holiday whimsy, warmth and energy. In November and December, this LGBTQ+ haven at the tip of Cape Cod is a joyous and celebratory place to get into the yuletide spirit.


The inaugural Provincetown Food & Wine Festival, which runs November 4-7, was created to celebrate local chefs and restaurants. The scheduled events include a Tuscan Wine Tasting & Seminar, an Amalfi Coast Wine Dinner and a Champagne Drag Brunch.
Mr. New England Leather 2022 runs from November 19 -21, with a Gear Brunch and a Beer Blast, and the competition at the Paramount Nightclub.

As for Thanksgiving, not everyone knows that it was Provincetown, not Plymouth, where the Mayflower Pilgrims first made landfall. Ptown commemorates that moment with the Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument on November 11, the actual anniversary of the First Landing. Some 3,100 individual lights will be strung from the top of the monument and will continue to shine until January 6, 2022.

An annual Provincetown tradition is the building and the lighting of the Lobster Pot Tree in Lopes Square. The brainchild of artist Julian Popko, the “tree” consists of more than 100 stacked lobster pots that are then covered with ribbons and lights. It is a celebration of the hardworking fishing families of Ptown and this year’s annual lighting is set for November 27.

The holidays really hit their stride with Holly Folly, which runs all weekend from December 3 to December 5. It features the Holly Folly Shop Hop and Stroll, where shoppers are eligible to win fantastic prize baskets for shopping with participating stores. There’s also the Jingle Bell Run and Champagne Brunch, a Santa run in bathing suits. Not to mention dance parties, sing-alongs, and drag bingo. The festive spirit continues with the Cape Cod Chorale holiday concerts in the Town Hall on December 10 at 7:00 and December 11 at 5:00. 

At the end of December, revelers can usher in the New Year in spectacular fashion at First Light, which runs from December 30, 2021 to January 2, 2022. There are holiday parties galore and highlights such as the Light Bright Bike Ride on New Year’s Eve. Then, on New Year’s Day, some brave souls will make the annual Polar Bear Plunge at noon. The grand finale is the amazing annual fireworks celebration on New Year’s Day at dusk, most easily watched from MacMillan Pier.

A view of Provincetown from across the harbor at the tip of Cape Cod.


Getting a jump on holiday shopping is a prime reason to visit Provincetown during these last weeks of 2021. The town is filled with independently-owned boutiques that offer handcrafted wares and ethically sourced items. Think home décor from Acadia and John Derian, fashions from Boichick and Coffey Men, and politically-messaged gifts from Adam’s Nest and Womencrafts. Add to that the annual Holiday Market at The Canteen, which is open every weekend from Thanksgiving to New Year’s with upwards of 25 local vendors. A gallery stroll is also in order, as many of the 50-something galleries here in the oldest continuous arts colony in the US will be open, along with the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM).


When it comes to lodging during the festive season, it’s smart to book now, at one of the nearly two dozen charming inns and guesthouses that remain open during the holidays. They include such properties as Pilgrim House and Aerie House & Beach Club, as well as the Anchor Inn Beach HouseRevere Guesthouse and the historic Land’s End Inn.

There are also a number of restaurants that remain open and welcoming, from breakfast spots like Liz’s Café or Anybody’s Bar. Lunch is served at Far Land Provision, East End Market, and Café Heaven. A festive dinner at Fanizzi’s, Napi’s or The Mews Restaurant & Café is ideal at this time when fall become early winter. Afterwards, shows and entertainment continue at Pilgrim House and The Crown & Anchor. There’s late night merriment at Ship Wreck at the Brass Key, Governor Bradford, or the Little Bar at the A-House.

It all adds up to an amazing and festive way to welcome 2022 in one of the most tinselly towns on the planet.

For more on the holiday season in Provincetown visit Provincetown Tourism.

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Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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