PROVINCETOWN — The calendar of events that structures summertime in Provincetown has been nearly wiped clean.
Bear Week, Family Week, and the Provincetown International Film Festival have all been suspended for 2020. The Portuguese Festival is being scaled back, though organizers are hoping to preserve the Blessing of the Fleet, a seafarers’ ritual that dates to at least the 1940s. Women of Color Weekend is canceled and no decisions have been made yet on Pride Weekend or Carnival.
Some of the biggest parties around the July 4 weekend are canceled too, but this doesn’t mean town will be closed — just that some large events can’t be organized under the present circumstances.
“These are not decisions made by the town,” said Director of Tourism Tony Fuccillo. “They’re private events. They take months of planning, there’s often financial commitments 90 days out, and it’s really hard to take those conscious steps forward, not knowing what the situation will be.
“I understand these businesses and what they’re doing,” Fuccillo added. “These are big productions.” Provincetown’s tourist economy brings in $250 million a year.
The absence of events doesn’t mean no one will come, Fuccillo continued.
“I think there will be a summer here. People will want to get out of their house,” he said. “It will be a different kind of summer than recent years, though.”
Fred Latasa-Nicks, chairman of the Provincetown Business Guild, had a similar take.
“There’s all this uncertainty,” he said. “There’s a financial aspect, but also the idea of creating large crowds — it’s just not the responsible thing to do right now with the information we have.
“It doesn’t mean P’town will be closed,” Latasa-Nicks added. “It means, let’s follow the science and do things responsibly.”
Provincetown still has beaches, bike trails, great shopping and food, art galleries, and walkable streets that draw people in, said Fuccillo.
“People have an affinity and a love for Provincetown that isn’t rooted in parties and weeks,” Latasa-Nicks said. “To think that if we don’t have those, you’ve canceled summer — you’d be misunderstanding the bond people have to this place. They’re going to want the magic, the love, the warmth … to walk around and be yourself and lie on the beach. It’s community, and it’s fun — it’s Provincetown. It transcends all of that.”