PROVINCETOWN – On the day before the clocks jumped forward and ten days from the official start of spring, the year-round community in Provincetown got together and celebrated the fact that they are, in fact, the year-round community in Provincetown.
As artist Deborah Kerr, who was selling her multi-faceted functional art at the Provincetown Year-Rounders Festival on Saturday, noted, “Winters are generally long and hard on the coast of New England.”
As the desolate Cape winter comes to an end, this festival, started in 1985 as a way “to celebrate the year-round community and the experience of living here year round,” is “literally like a big family reunion,” said Jennifer Wells, a member of the Year-Rounders Festival Committee.
Although Wells did not have a title beyond member of the committee, she was the one wearing a tiara to identify herself as the person running the event. Wells said the event had expanded to include the Outer Cape towns of Wellfleet and Truro.
“It’s the only event I’m aware of where people that live here can connect with each other,” she said. “In the summer everyone here is too busy working or running their businesses.”
The event was held at Provincetown Town Hall, the place of so many gatherings through the years. According to Wells, the year-round population of Provincetown has remained steady at 3,000 for 100 years, although “it’s a different demographic.”
The change is obvious, she said, even since the festival first started. Back then, the town had more of a mix of adults and children, and now there are more singles and couples without children, she said.
Lydia Hamnquist, who has been volunteering with the festival for more than 25 years, said she was thrilled that some younger people have become involved with the festival.
“It’s all about giving people, right at the end of winter, something to do.” she said. It’s a time, before the craziness of a Provincetown summer, she said, to “get out of the house you have been sitting in for three months.”
During the first part of the day, the all-day event featured several tables of local wares as well as information tables for various causes. Pete Cook, who was born in Provincetown in 1945, was selling a DVD called “Dad, I Wanna Go Fishing,” full of old Provincetown film footage.
Cook said the event was a great opportunity for local people to sell their crafts and he was especially thankful that there was no fee to set up a table.
Near the end of the day, when the vendor tables were put away, there was free food brought in from local Provincetown restaurants, as well as performances by two great Cape original bands, Offworld and The Daggers.
There were drag queens, fun corny jokes from the stage, and lots of warm hellos.
“Did you see the pet parade?” asked Rob Scott, who was selling hand-carved birds whales and fish. There were all sorts of dogs, he said, “and there was even a chicken.”