I am an avid traveler, having visited many beautiful parts of the world, both domestic and international. No matter where I’ve been or will go in the future, though, there is possibly no place on earth that will ever be as magical to me as Provincetown, Massachusetts—affectionately known as Ptown.
Accessible by plane, bus, a two-hour drive from Boston, or a five-hour drive from New York City, Ptown is a favorite LGBTQ+ destination located at the tip of Cape Cod. It’s a picture-perfect oceanside town with beautiful beaches, lush seasonal greenery, acres of dunes, lighthouses. And if that’s not enough, it offers some of Cape Cod’s most welcoming restaurants, cabaret acts, big celebrity appearances, sexy night clubs, art galleries, and shops.
Ptown is a true melting pot that welcomes everyone and embraces individuality, creativity, and freedom of expression, straight, gay, and every identity in between. Some of the most significant happenings in Ptown are the popular gay men’s events during its peak summer season. One of the sexiest and most inclusive is the notorious Bear Week Provincetown.
After the July 4th week, Bear Week is by far Ptown’s most popular summer event. The city’s chamber of commerce reports that since its 2001 inception Bear Week Provincetown usually attracts over 10,000 tourists over a nine-day schedule of events hosted by Ptown Bears in collaboration with local hotels, party promoters, and nightclubs.
Unfortunately, the boys’ hearts were broken last summer as COVID negatively impacted many vacation plans and Bear Week 2020 was canceled.
So now, the question is, will there be a Bear Week Provincetown in 2020? Well, yes and no.
According to Ptownie.com, a top site for all things happening year-round in the town, there is no official Bear Week this year, but the city itself is reportedly coming back as nearly a third of America has gotten vaccinated for COVID, and businesses are primed to reopen in the summer season.
As reported by Ptownie.com:
“The message, for now, is that there will be an informal gathering of Bears in Ptown from July 10 – 18, 2021, without parties or organized activities. Hosts for the traditional parties at Bear Week have not received the okay for large public gatherings, and Provincetown Bears is not planning events for this summer.”
That said, thanks to private Bear Week groups on Facebook where I have my spies, I know for a fact that the Bears are still coming to town, many vax’d and ready to come out of hibernation!
In January, the usual Bear Week host property managers at the Boatslip, the Crown & Anchor, and the A-House announced they would not promote large gatherings this summer. These establishments plan to open for the season, however —even if in a limited capacity. Most notably, the Boatslip’s popular Buoy bar, sun deck, and pool will be open during Bear Week, according to their site. Sadly, though, the famous Boatslip Tea Dance is not scheduled to return until August 2021. Sorry Bears!
Still, according to Ptownie.com the town is anticipating the Bears’ arrival even if for an informal Bear Week,
“Just from my personal anecdotal point of view– Ptown is BUSTLING….with new businesses, new owners, and a level of excitement that is palpable. People (and Bears) are coming to Provincetown this Summer no matter what.”
It’s expected that many bears have made reservations to visit Ptown this summer. I, too, will be there, and I look forward to giving a first-hand account of the experience. Along with fellow Ptown fans, we may enjoy a quieter than usual Bear Week but still one full of glorious beach days, poolside cocktails, whale-watching, picnicking on the beach, dune tours, bike-riding, naughty fun in the dunes, beautiful landscapes, catching up with old friends and meeting new ones along the way.
As Ptown anticipates a fabulous post-COVID rebound after Memorial Day, the Provincetown Business Guild encourages guests to have a great time while adhering to guidelines. The good news is that the mandate to wear a mask outdoors on Commercial Street has been lifted, along with the 11 p.m. limit for alcohol sales at restaurants. Masks are required indoors at businesses, and social distancing is still required both outdoors and indoors. After May 21st, it is expected that live indoor entertainment will resume at 50% capacity, and all bars will be able to reopen. So it seems that Ptown is on its way back and with a full schedule of LGBTQ entertainment and events already lined up!
Even without large formal Bear Week parties, the town will still be chock full of things to do, including additional LGBTQ theme weeks like Pride, Womxn of Color Weekend, Independence Week, Family Week, and Carnival.
Check out the scheduled LGBTQ Ptown events for summer 2021 below —and if you see me out on Commercial Street during Bear Week, make sure you come over and say, Heeey Bitch!
Provincetown’s Summer 2021 LGBTQ Calendar
Some of the entertainers performing in Provincetown this summer include:
- Broadway superstars Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara
- The always popular Naked Boys Singing and The Boy Band Project
- Drag phenoms Bianca Del Rio, Dina Martina, and Varla Jean Merman
- Provincetown favorites Jon Richardson & Peter Donnelly (performing a Dolly Parton tribute show)
- Fast Ferry service from Boston to Provincetown resumes May 16
- Single Women’s Weekend: May 21 – 23
- Womxn of Color Weekend: June 4 – 7
- Provincetown Pride: June 4 -6
- Pride Express Yourself Day: June 5
- Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993, a book reading with author Sarah Schulman: June 14, 6 p.m.
- Vacaya’s Ptown Summer Jamboree: June 14 – 20
- The Provincetown International Film Festival: June 16 – 25
- Men of Color Weekend: June 17-20
- Cabaret Fest, Broadway at the Beach: June 23 – 27
- Love’s Next Meeting: The Forgotten History of Homosexuality and the Left in American Culture, a book reading with author Aaron S Lecklider: June 29, 6 p.m.
- Independence Week: July 2 – 9
- Independence Week Express Yourself Day: July 4
- Bear Week: July 10 – 18
- Bear Week Express Yourself Day: July 12
- Girl Splash: July 21 – 24
- Family Week: July 24 – 31
- Family Week Express Yourself Day: July 26
- Naked Boys Singing – 20th Anniversary performances benefitting the PBG: August 11 & 12, Crown & Anchor Waterfront Outdoor Theatre
- Provincetown Carnival, Somewhere Over the Rainbow: August 15 – 21
- Carnival Express Yourself Day: August 19
- Swim for Life & Paddler Flotilla: September 11
June 4, 9 p.m. – Friday,
Crown & Anchor Poolside Theatre
Elton & Billy Greatest Hits Live with Jon Richardson and Todd Alsup
A portion of the ticket sales proceeds benefit the Provincetown Business Guild. https://onlyatthecrown.com/event/5721-elton-billy-greatest-hits-live
June 5, 2 – 4 p.m. – Saturday
Queer Beer Bingo with Thirsty Burlington as Cher
Hosted by the Provincetown Brewing Co. and The Crown & Anchor
A benefit of the Provincetown Business Guild.
Tickets at ptown.org
June 6, 8 p.m. – Sunday
Crown & Anchor Poolside Theatre
A cabaret-style show of fun and colorful craziness with a touch of Vegas, Folies Bergere, and Moulin Rouge. A benefit of the Provincetown Business Guild. https://onlyatthecrown.com/event/5722-provincetown-follies
In the meantime let’s have a look back at the last big fun Pre-Covid Ptown summer, in 2019. Video: David A. Cox