A Guide to Carnival in Provincetown

By Bailey Soderberg | Photo by Julia Cumes

The 38th annual Provincetown Carnival kicks off Aug. 13 and continues throughout the week until Aug. 19. The event will be full of parties, parades and activities, all centered around this year’s theme: “Back to the ’80s.” If you’re planning on joining in on the fun, here are some things you should know before you go:

Get there early: While parking in Provincetown can be hectic during the normal summer season, it’s downright impossible during Carnival as everyone flocks to the town for festivities. Plan ahead and leave early in the morning on Thursday or book a place to stay nearby overnight so you can roll out of bed and head downtown.

Know your events: Figure out which events will be free and what time they’ll be held so that you don’t get lost in the hectic atmosphere of P-town and miss out on the best the Carnival has to offer. Hint: Check out the Men at Work Vendor’s Fair behind Town Hall (12-4 p.m. on Monday) and be sure not to miss the Carnival Parade (Thursday at 3 p.m.).

Reserve ahead of time: If there are restaurants you hope to eat at or particular celebrations you want to attend that you can book in advance, do it. From cruises to performances to themed parties, there are plenty of Carnival activities that have tickets available online.

Go all out: If you want to party with the locals, you better be thematic and break out those leg warmers and parachute pants. In addition to looking the part, try to prepare yourself for long, hot days in the sun and large crowds.

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