A Light in the Darkness
By: Jeannette de Beauvoir, November 21, 2011
Courtesy PMPM - For 102 years, Provincetown has lit up the Pilgrim Monument to commemorate the 1620 arrival of English on these unassuming shores.
Okay. It doesn’t sound like much: they’re turning on the holiday lights at the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown. Ho-hum.
But if you want a feeling of sheer joy, of celebration, of delight, then Provincetown is absolutely the place to be to share in the 102nd annual Lighting of the Pilgrim Monument.
Cape Cod elementary-school students will be on hand to help “flip the switch” at exactly 6 PM, as a thousand visitors from the Cape and beyond gather to witness this annual tradition and count down to the lighting.
The lighting of the Pilgrim Monument has been an annual tradition since 1910. It commemorates the first landfall of the Pilgrims in the “New World” in Provincetown Harbor. Nineteen strands of more than 3,500 white “landing lights” sweep from the top to the bottom of the Monument in a stunning display that can be seen for miles around.
The Monument will stay lit until January 6, 2012, representing the five weeks the Pilgrims spent in Provincetown Harbor on board the Mayflower before they sailed to Plymouth.
This year’s celebrations will be marred by some controversy—the recent and inexplicable firing of the extremely popular Jim Bakker, executive director of the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum for the last five years, who was “let go” (as the euphemism would have it) by the board of directors of the private non-profit.
This turn of events reportedly came as a surprise to Bakker, resulting in the resignation of board members and general dissatisfaction in the community at large. Many people will boycott the event this year, and others who usually volunteered have noted that they will attend, but nothing more.
Still, the show will go on. Make sure that you don’t simply park by the Town Hall and look up the hill (I made that mistake my first year in P-Town!); instead, park on one of the side streets and walk up to the museum itself, where most of the fun will be happening.
Annual sponsors, the Provincetown Business Guild, will provide refreshment. There will be lots of music—including sing-alongs—a few speeches, and a great deal of community spirit.
The event is free and open to the public, so consider joining the fun in P-town before spending the next day with your turkey in the kitchen!
If you go...
Wednesday, November 23 from 5 to 7 PM
Pilgrim Monument, High Pole Hill Road Provincetown