The Provincetown Business Guild has announced the schedule of the 45th annual Carnival, August 12–19, 2023. This year’s theme, Land of Toys, will be celebrated with live entertainment, a 5K run and walk, parties, a gallery stroll, costume contests, the Carnival parade, and much more.
The 45th annual Provincetown Carnival Week, August 12-19, is one of the largest LGBTQ+ celebrations in the US and the largest event on Cape Cod that celebrates the town’s creative legacy and history as a welcoming destination and oasis for the LGBTQ+ community.
Started in 1978 by a group of gay innkeepers who wanted to invigorate the Provincetown community, Carnival, now one of the largest LGBTQ+ celebrations in the US and the largest event on Cape Cod celebrates the town’s creative legacy and history as a welcoming destination and oasis for the LGBTQ+ community.
“It’s an honor to produce Cape Cod’s largest annual event and such an integral celebration to the history of Provincetown and the Provincetown Business Guild,” said Stephan Hengst, executive director of the Provincetown Business Guild. “We are excited to commemorate 45 years of creativity, community, and Carnival excellence as only Provincetown can.”
Carnival kicks off on Sunday, August 13, with the Feet Over Front Street 5K Carnival Run/Walk. Branded Feet Over Front Street, the event honors Commercial Street’s original name (Front Street), which dates to 1880.
Later that day, get down and set sail with Bay State Cruise Company for the Disco Duck Carnival Cruise. This cruise and dance party will feature three hours of spinning under the sun by DJ Andrew Haig & New York City’s golden-era icon and black trans advocate, DJ Lina Bradford. A full cash bar, specialty cocktails, and concessions will be available for purchase.
Carnival opening day continues into the night with the Toy Chest: Official Carnival Opening Party at the Crown & Anchor, where the best Land of Toys look will win a cash prize and a spot aboard one of the PBG’s Carnival Parade floats.
Carnival Monday brings the one-of-a-kind aquatic experience at the Brass Key Guesthouse: Malibu, the annual legendary pool party. Hosted by Paige Turner and featuring DJ Edil Hernandez on the decks, this pool party sells out every year, so get your speedos, kaftans, and thongs ready.
On Tuesday, August 15, a Carnival classic returns. The Watership Inn’s renowned Carnival party, established in 1979, makes a triumphant comeback with one of Ptown’s favorite entertainers, the incomparable Miss Richfield. This backyard bash features food, games, open bar, and a performance from Miss Richfield herself.
“We’re so excited that Carnival 2023 marks the return of Miss Richfield 1981’s party at the Watership Inn,” said Stephan Hengst. “ It’s the longest-running event in Provincetown Carnival’s history and has been raising funds for the Provincetown Business Guild since the late 70’s! The event took a few years off during the pandemic, and now that our dear sweet Miss Richfield has had some time to rest up, she’s ready for this year’s event!”
Enjoy more fabulous drag artistry as Alyssa Edwards makes her debut on Wednesday, August 16, at Provincetown Town Hall for a night of comedy, storytelling, glamour, and gag-worthy looks. Justin Dwayne Lee Johnson, known by their stage name Alyssa Edwards, is an entertainer, choreographer, drag performer, and television personality. First appearing on the fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, he quickly became a fan favorite for his candid testimonials, outrageous tongue-pops, and quirky personality. Alyssa returned for season two of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All-Stars. Since Drag Race, Alyssa has toured the globe performing for fans throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Central and South America, and she is now ready to spill the tea from the Town Hall stage.
On Thursday, August 17, visitors and locals will pour into Ptown for the 45th Carnival Parade showing off their incredible costumes inspired by the Land of Toys theme. Winding its way down Commercial Street, the procession of floats and walkers will be led by Grand Marshal Jason Carter, also known as drag artist Monica Moore from Taunton, MA. Jason was thrust onto the national stage when the drag queen story hour he was hosting (as Monica Moore) at the Taunton Public Library was interrupted by a group of neo-Nazis. Jason bravely continued to read over the heckling and taunts while remaining aware of the potential dangers to himself and the attendees. The PBG honors Jason’s courage and bravery and invites parade-goers to surround Jason with love and support.
After the parade, head to the Boatslip for the post-Parade Tea Dance, where thousands of parade participants gather to show off their costumes and dance.
Additional dance parties during Carnival include the Legend of the Pied Piper: Mouse Trap, a pop-up girl party at the Provincetown Brewing Co., Tugboat dance party at A-House, Dollz World hosted by model, performer, and original club kid, Amanda Lepore at Red Room, the Rainbow Light-Bright Rave at Red Room, My Little Bro-ni Beer Fest & Dance Party at the Provincetown Brewing Co., and Exit Through the Doll Haus: The Official Carnival Closing Party at the Crown & Anchor.
Carnival Week offers something for everyone, including those interested in health and wellness, in addition to or instead of parties and live entertainment. The Feet Over Front Street 5K is a great way to start off your Carnival Week; the Yoga Joint will be offering multiple styles of Yoga classes throughout the week, including fluid flow, fiery flow, and energizing Kundalini, Helltown Fitness offers shred and strength classes at the Crown & Anchor, or rent a kayak or paddle board from Coyote Kayaks.
The Gallery Stroll, Carnival Bingo, and Camp Provincetown: Carnival Boy Beach Tidal Pool Foray with the National Park Service round out this year’s Carnival schedule. Individual Carnival event tickets range from $10 to $65. The VIP Package is $250 and includes six Carnival events, VIP priority “front of the line” entry, and limited edition Carnival merchandise. For the full schedule and to purchase tickets, visit ptown.org/carnival.
The 2023 Carnival Week and Feet Over Front Street 5K are sponsored by Gilead Sciences, Grindr, Seamen’s Bank, iHeart Media, Del/Mar Vacation Rentals, Cape Cod 5, Crown & Anchor, The Boatslip, Bay State Cruise Co., and Provincetown Tourism. Additional sponsors for the Feet Over Front Street 5K series include Xfinity, Stop & Shop, The Harbor Hotel, The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod, Provincetown Inn, The Godfrey Hotel, Joe Coffee, The Provincetown Brewing Co., and Cape Cod Test N’ Treat.
2023 Carnival Schedule
SUNDAY AUGUST 13
Feet Over Front Street 5K – Carnival 2023 Run/Walk
8:30 AM Harbor Hotel, 698 Commercial Street
Disco Duck Carnival Cruise Featuring DJ Lina Bradford
4:00 PM MacMillan Pier, Ryder Street Extension
Toy Chest: The Official Carnival Opening Party
10:00 PM Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial Street
MONDAY AUGUST 14
Malibu: The Brass Key’s Annual Carnival Pool Party
1:00 PM Brass Key Guesthouse, 67 Bradford Street
1:00 PM Gifford House, 9 Carver Street
Amanda Lepore’s Carnival Dance Party – Dollz World!
10:00 PM Red Room, 258 Commercial Street
TUESDAY AUGUST 15
Camp Provincetown: Carnival Boy Beach Tidal Pool Foray with the National Park Service
Provincetown Inn, 1 Commercial Street
Watership Inn’s Annual Carnival Party with Miss Richfield
3:00 PM Watership Inn, 7 Winthrop Street
Tugboat: A Night of Sailors & Seamen
10:00 PM A-House, 4-6 Masonic Place
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 16
Legend of the Pied Piper: Mouse Trap
2:00 PM Provincetown Brewing Company, 141 Bradford Street
Alyssa Edwards at Town Hall
8:30 PM (doors at 7:30 PM) Town Hall, 260 Commercial Street
Tickets $45 – $165
Rainbow Light-Bright Rave
Get yourself a glow-up and come twirl on the Red Room dance floor. …
10:00 PM Red Room, 258 Commercial Street
THURSDAY AUGUST 17
45th Annual Carnival Parade: Land of Toys
3:00 PM Parade starts at The Harbor Hotel, 698 Commercial Street
Parade Day Tea Dance
4:00 PM Boatslip, 161 Commercial Street
FRIDAY AUGUST 18
The Provincetown Gallery Stroll
7:00 PM Art galleries throughout Provincetown
My Little Bro-ni Beer Fest & Dance Party
7:00 PM Provincetown Brewing Company, 141 Bradford Street
Exit Through the Doll Haus: The Official Carnival Closing Party
10:00 PM Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial Street
SUNDAY AUGUST 19
Purgatory Presents: The Underwear Party
Purgatory at the Gifford House, 9 Carver Street
About the Provincetown Business Guild
The Provincetown Business Guild is a nonprofit organization promoting and supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer business community in Provincetown, MA. The Guild is committed to improving the Provincetown community by advocating for the acceptance of diversity and tolerance through projects, programs, and education. The Guild welcomes residents and visitors to experience America’s first LGBTQ+ tourist destination. For more information about the Provincetown Business Guild, visit www.ptown.org and on Instagram @VisitPtown.