PROVINCETOWN: Margaret Cho and Bruce Vilanch are grand marshals this year.

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Carnival promises wild time
By Mary Ann Bragg
August 14, 2010 2:00 AM

PROVINCETOWN — The annual Carnival week in town could shake the leaves off the trees this year with its “Jungle Fantasy” theme.

The traditionally raucous and eye-popping week of events and public displays of imagination-gone-wild begins tomorrow.

First, prepare your costume: Jane, Tarzan, King Kong, a coconut, a lion, a tiger, or possibly Tattoo or Mr. Rourke of the old “Fantasy Islandtelevision show.

Then hit the streets.

There’s the “Banana Boat” and “Birds of Paradise” boat cruises and a “Tarzan’s Temptation” bar party. Dance in clubs at the “Jungala Jive,” “Jungle Heat” and “(Forget Tarzan) Jane Loves Jane” parties. “Lady HaHa of the Jungle,” otherwise known as comedian Kate Clinton, will perform, and that’s just the start. There’s the “Tribal Welcome” party, the “Piranha’s Paradise” party and the “Monkey Business” closing party, among many others.

Carnival week usually brings about 40,000 people to town, and it’s arguably the pinnacle of Provincetown’s summer season, said Nick Robertson, executive director of the Provincetown Business Guild.

The week appears to be off to a good start, at least with the number of rooms booked, Robertson said. Good weather, earlier advertising and possibly an improved economy could be the reason, he said.

“There’s not a lot of last-minute availability on the (guild’s Internet room booking) site,” Robertson said.

The guild promotes and supports gay tourism and is the organizer of the week, which runs through Friday.

No one will argue, though, that it’s the parade at 3 p.m. Thursday that can bust every seam in your Jungle Jim costume. Comedians Margaret Cho and Bruce Vilanch are grand marshals this year. The parade starts in the East End and makes its way along Commercial Street to the West End, usually chocked full of scantily clad men, ear-splitting music, confetti, pink taffeta and wildly high platform shoes, all pushing through the crowds as though there’s no tomorrow.

“The parade is probably one of the biggest we have in town,” Robertson said.

Despite the fun of the parade, though, there is a bit of sobriety — literally — to consider.

Like last year, the drivers of the floats will be checked for sobriety and whether they’re licensed to drive the float trucks, said police Chief Jeff Jaran yesterday. Alcohol is banned from the floats and the truck cabs, Jaran said. There have been reports of this activity in the past.

“It’s probably one of our easier events to police,” Jaran said. “It’s a crowd that loves to have fun, and we want everyone to be safe.”

If you go

What: CARNIVAL 2010 “Jungle Fantasy”

When: Aug. 15 to Aug. 20
Where: Provincetown
Highlight: Carnival parade: 3 p.m., Thursday

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