Carnival Adventure (From a Newbie’s Perspective)

Each year,’s sister company, 99.9 the Q, has a float in the Provincetown Carnival Parade. This year, I volunteered to go and document the event. In truth, I was prepared to beg to go, since I’d never been, and have heard what a crazy time it can be. And who doesn’t love a crazy time?

The Carnival Parade was absolute insanity, in the best way. Each year, throngs (and by throngs, I mean thousands) of people show up for this incredible day of costumes, dancing, drinking and partying. This amazing event is the perfect blend of hedonism, exhibitionism and bohemian revelry, where almost anything goes.

Partygoers outdo each other with costumes that have clearly been carefully planned and worked on for weeks, if not months. It is an extravaganza of body paint, glitter, leather, makeup, wigs and fabulousness like you’ve never seen (unless you’ve experienced it for yourself). There is so much to see at once, you hardly know where to look!

I was there for work, and was on a mission to find a shady spot with some decent Wifi, where I could perch myself and do a Facebook Live video as the parade came by. Little did I know, not one unoccupied inch of shade would be available, nor would I find any reliable Wifi. Instead I relied on photo and video.

The parade was late to start, and the crowd around me was getting restless. They were pushing and closing the gaps, and I didn’t like that too-close feeling. I had to keep moving. I knew I was a sweaty mess by this time. Any trace of makeup I’d put on that morning had long since melted off in the scorching heat. I even pulled out my ugly, yet handy, wide-brimmed hat to try to get a small reprieve from the sun.

When the parade finally came winding down Commercial Street, the crowd went wild. They were screaming at the people on the floats and those walking ahead of them, begging for beads (it was a Mardi Gras theme). The floats were colorful and over the top and the audience couldn’t seem to get enough. Music and merriment, fueled in some cases with alcohol, took over the afternoon, and the crowd danced and sang and waved as the floats moved by. As the Q float came around, I walked behind it the rest of the way and sang and danced along with everyone else, sore feet be damned!

I will say having a tote bag with me was the best decision I’d made that morning. It held my purse, my hat, all my bottles of water, my co-worker’s shirt, a phone charger and a variety of other miscellaneous items that I thought I might need. The absolute worst decision I’d made was to wear flip flops. That was a mistake of epic proportions – one I’m still regretting today. I had walked for miles, and was limping and almost weeping by the end of the day. (I was actually passed by a woman on an electric scooter and told her I envied her, to which she replied that if she had the room, she’d gladly give me a ride. Thank you, anyway!)

Despite the crowd, the heat, and the wait, the Carnival was amazing and something that everyone should witness at least once. The LGBTQ community of Provincetown is largely the most welcoming, and the most entertaining, creative and friendly group of people you could be fortunate enough to meet. They are accepting of themselves and others, and I am thrilled to have been a part of this spectacular event. If I decide to take part again next year, I’ll be on the float!

About Ann Luongo

Ann Luongo has been writing for Cape Cod and South Shore publications for over 15 years.
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