Provincetown may be one of the country’s top queer vacation destinations, but it has never hosted a Pride. That will change this year when the Provincetown Business Guild, one of the oldest and largest LGBT tourism and marketing organizations in the U.S., hosts the city’s inaugural celebration, June 1-3.
“I think, you know, when we said we were going to do this—host Pride for the first time—people’s reactions were, well, ’Provincetown is gay every day,'” said Fred Latasa, chair of the Provincetown Business Guild’s board of directors. “So for me, I thought, yeah, it is gay every day, and P-Town is lots of fun, but no one was really pausing and thinking that—you know what—we really have a great history too.”
Indeed, a major storm in 1898 first prompted Provincetown to rethink its economy and it was then that it began to promote itself as a tourist destination. Artists, writers, and other bohemians began to flock to the Cape Cod resort.
“Of course, many of them were gay and lesbian,” explains Latasa.
To that end, Pride will also commemorate and celebrate Provincetown’s LGBT legacy with the opening of “The Shack,” a new LGBT center that will host talks and exhibitions that showcase and celebrate the lives and experiences of Provincetown’s queer community.
“It’s literally a beach shack in the center of town and we are creating a timeline of the 10 most impactful moments in our history,” continues Latasa. “The idea was to create a place for people coming in from out of town that may not be with a group of friends and a questioning what to do.”
Other Pride events include the “Let Your Love Light Shine” lantern making and decoration event, a “highly unofficial” Pride sashay, a Drag Poppins Brunch, and an underpants and panties closing party.
But the centerpiece of the celebration will be the Global Rainbow, a large art installation created by Yvette Mattern that will project laser lights into the sky, simulating a natural rainbow arc that will be visible for up to 20 miles. Although Mattern has installed the Global Rainbow in cities previously, Provincetown will be the setting for the Global Rainbow’s first exhibition at a Pride event.
“P-Town is more than just Tea Dance and going out to the A House,” says Latasa. “There’s a lot that started here and we want to celebrate that.”