Sunday, June 24, 2012

Provincetown Portuguese Festival 2012

Commercial Street was packed this afternoon with Portuguese dancers, band members and others as well as parade watchers, all making their way along the street following the parade on this third day of Provincetown's annual Portuguese Festival.
Although there had been Portuguese sailors fishing these waters as early as the fifteen hundreds, they actually began settling in Provincetown in sizable numbers around the year 1840 or so. A number of sea captains from this area began sailing to Portugal and the Azores in search of skilled fishermen and ready sailors who were willing to leave their families behind as they set out to sea for many months at a time, or longer. A number of those fishermen settled in Provincetown, working very hard to eventually save up enough money to be able to send for their families to come and live here as well. The Portuguese were pretty much the backbone of the early fishing community here, while the Yankees growing up in Provincetown tended more often to become whalers rather than fishermen. Thus entered the golden age of sail here at the tip of Cape Cod, with the middle to late eighteen hundreds seeing some 700 fishing and whaling vessels in these waters, all of them outfitted and supplied here in Provincetown. Come and join us in celebrating Provincetown's tremendous Portuguese heritage. There are still events to come in this year's festival, so don't miss out.
The 65th Blessing of the Fleet will be held Sunday, beginning with the special Fishermen's Mass at Saint Peter's Church, on Prince Street, at 10:30 AM. It will be followed by the procession from the church to MacMillan Pier from approximately noon to 1:00 PM. The actual Blessing of the Fleet is scheduled for 1:00 PM at the far end of MacMillan Pier. The blessing is a wonderful tradition of the Provincetown Portuguese Festival where boats from miles around, and even you and I in our little rowboats, canoes and kayaks, can join in the procession of the boats that will pass by the end of the pier as each vessel is blessed by the priest for safety on the water and a bountiful fishing season.
Also at noon, there will be entertainment on the pier featuring Rancho Folclorico Corações Lusíadas, who will be performing traditional Portuguese dances in costume. The link above leads to a YouTube video of their performance on the pier at last year's festival, posted by  stagnes06. There will also be food offered on the pier from noon to 4:00 PM at the Tasca do Pescador, or Portuguese Cafe, set up for the occasion. Food at this event often includes linguica rolls (say leen-gwee-suh) which consists of a slightly spicy Portuguese sausage, grilled over an open flame and served on a bun with mustard. This is one of the great treats of the festival. And don't miss the band concert scheduled from 4 to 6 PM at Town Hall, featuring Saint Anthony's Band from Cambridge, Massachusetts. And if you missed today's parade, here's a photo recap of some of the participants:
One of several marching bands
There were a number of dance troupes performing in the parade
Smokey the Bear made an appearance
Dancers came in all sizes
Portuguese flags decorated the float that carried this band
An antique fire truck was a hit
It's not a parade without the Town Crier
A Scottish bagpipe band joined us
Looking over the awning at the Waterford Inn, more traditional costumes
Another marching band
Kids got to ride in the town's fire trucks
A band with dancers

Come and join us in the rest of the celebration, and put this event on your calendar for next year, the third week in June.

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