The Holidays on the Outer Cape
by Steve Desroches
One of the hallmarks of living in New England is how much the rhythms of life change depending on the season, both those that occur with a solstice or equinox, and those that are culturally created. And true to form, Provincetown acts a bit like New England’s mood ring with a wild and crazy summer, a crisp golden autumn with a howling good Halloween, and come the end of the year the palm of the Cape’s tip feels a bit cozier and snug as the Outer Cape celebrates the holiday season in its own unique way.
While the very first Thanksgiving may have been celebrated across Cape Cod Bay in Plymouth, the holiday has grown significantly in Provincetown, with visitors taking advantage of numerous restaurants offering Thanksgiving prix fixe options as well as the long weekend to enjoy the natural beauty, night life options, and to kick off the holiday season with two of Provincetown’s most beloved traditions, the Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument, this year on November 23, and the Lighting of the Lobster Pot Tree in Lopes Square on November 26. The Provincetown Theater begins a month-long run of their original production Hope for the Holidays, November 25 – December 18, and the Crown and Anchor is hopping with Drag Bingo, VJ Tom Yaz, legendary piano man Bobby Wetherbee, and the drag extravaganza Illusions throughout Thanksgiving weekend.
Over at the Mews Restaurant and Café the 26th season of Coffeehouse at the Mews, an open mic night hosted by Peter Donnelly, kicks off with featured act The New Beach Band on the November 7, followed by VB & The Buzz, The Bert Jackson Trio, Peter Hutchinson and Friends, John Thomas, Neil Silberblatt, and Kathy Phipps on each respective Monday up until the New Year. While in Wellfleet the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT) hosts Yule for Fuel each Sunday, November 27 – December 18, a holiday variety show that raises money to help those in need pay their heating bills.
Earlier in November several relatively new events are taking hold, spicing things up well before the Pilgrim Monument is aglow for the season. Sage Inn and Lounge hosts the Cape Cod Beer, Bed & Breakfast Weekend again, November 4 – 6, offering a chance for craft beer enthusiasts to sample some of the Cape’s local brews. And on Saturday, November 5, WOMR hosts local author Chef Rossi reading from her memoir The Raging Skillet.
On November 12, Sage hosts a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, Bullets in the Bathtub, complete with a three-course Italian dinner, with diners trying to solve a whodunit set in a 1920s speakeasy. And in Wellfleet, WHAT presents Smokin’ Jazz: From Basie to the Beatles, performed by the Bruce Abbott/Fred Fried Quintet featuring vocalist Marcelle Gauvin.
The Crown and Anchor and Full Kit Gear co-host the Mr. New England Leather Weekend November 18 – 20, with the contest to choose a regional winner to compete at the International Mister Leather contest in Chicago next May, and the Leather Archives & Museum will present an exhibition on the history of New England leather communities.
December kicks off with an interesting new event at Wellfleet Preservation Hall as they present The Animation Show of Shows, December 2 and 3, a film festival featuring 16 new and innovative short animated movies from around the world. Also that first weekend in December, Christmastime arrives in Provincetown with the fabulous Holly Folly, December 2 – 4, the world’s only gay and lesbian Christmas festival. In addition to great sales up and down Commercial Street, the weekend features dance parties at the Crown and Anchor and A House, a holiday concert by the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus at Town Hall, Drag Bingo, the Jingle Bell Speedo Run, Gregg’s Cookie Party at the Porchside Bar, and the annual Tis the Season for Giving at Paramount at the Crown and Anchor, a drag show that raises money for the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod. The following weekend the Outer Cape Chorale presents their winter concert, O Be Joyful!, December 9 and 10 at Town Hall, featuring Missa Festiva by John Leavitt, Gloria by Randol Alan Bass, and A Jubilant Song by Norman Dello Joio, as well as a few holiday favorites.
New Year’s in Provincetown is always a wonderful surprise to first timers as they are amazed by the festive and fun crowd it attracts in what is the biggest event of the holiday season on the Outer Cape. Provincetown once again hosts First Light, December 30 – January 2, with clubs and bars throwing a variety of parties, drag star Thirsty Burlington’s Christmas Special at the Crown and Anchor December 30, a Polar Bear Plunge into chilly Provincetown Harbor on January 1 with a New Year’s Fireworks display that day starting shortly after dusk to welcome 2017 in with a bang!
This issue is the last of the 2016 season for Provincetown Magazine and we look forward to the spring for our 40th year of covering arts, entertainment, and culture on the Outer Cape. We love covering this fantastic, eccentric, and creative part of the world and can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store!
Where it’s at…
Atlantic House, 4 Masonic Pl., 508.487.3821, ahouse.com.
Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial St., 508.487.1430, onlyatthecrown.com.
Mews Restaurant Coffeehouse, 429 Commercial St., 508.487.1500 mews.com.
Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, 1 High Pole Rd., 508.487.1310,
Porchside Bar, 9 Carver St., 508.487.0688. giffordhouse.com
Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford St., 508.487.9793, provincetowntheater.org.
Sage Inn & Lounge, 336 Commercial St., 508.487.6424, sageinnptown.com.
Town Hall, 260 Commercial St., 508.487.7000.
WOMR Davis Space, 494 Commercial St., 508.487.2619, womr.org.
Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater (WHAT), Julie Harris Stage, Rte. 6, 508.349.9428, what.org.
Wellfleet Preservation Hall, 335 Main St., 508.349.1800, wellfleetpreservationhall.org.