'Port Summer Nights' To Sizzle This Summer

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Harwich Port , Local Music , Entertainment , Tourism

Port Summer Nights kick off the summer of 2016 on Wednesday, July 6.  FILE PHOTO

HARWICH PORT — Wednesday nights are going to be hopping in the 'Port this summer.

The Harwich Chamber of Commerce has announced the lineups for Port Summer Nights, the weekly celebrations of art, dining, music and shopping, which start next Wednesday, July 6.

“It looks great,” chamber Executive Director Jeremy Gingras said. “We've got eight weeks' of bands lined up and other activities.”

Each Wednesday night, live music will be performed up and down Route 28 in Harwich Port from 6 to 9 p.m. Visitors can stroll the village and soak up the tunes for free, stopping to shop and dine along the way.

“We have themes for each night, and the first night, July 6, is the 'Kick-off to Summer' theme,” he said. Performing upbeat summertime music will be High Attitude, Straight Jacket Slumber Party, African Drumma Queens, Good Question, the Ukeladies, and the Last Men on Earth.

Port Summer Nights is an outgrowth of the Harwich Port Musical Strolls held for years on alternate summer Wednesdays by the Harwich Port Merchants' Association. In March, leaders of the association announced the group was ceasing operations because of a lack of volunteers. It turned the musical strolls over to the chamber, which expanded them to a weekly event.

“It has definitely made Harwich Port what it is,” Gingras said of the signature summertime music series. After 16 years, “it's certainly come into its own.”

Continuing through Aug. 24, the event has various themes, from blues and country to “Get Your Groove On.”

“Our big one is going to be July 13, and that's 'Thank a Local Hero' night,” Gingras said. Among the special guests will be cyclists from “Big Nick's Ride for the Fallen,” a fundraising motorcycle ride that takes place later in the month.

“They'll be here on their motorcycles,” Gingras said.

The event isn't just about music, he added. In addition to offers by local merchants, there will be plenty of food offerings from local restaurants, the Pilgrim Congregational Church and a food truck.

“It's a great chance to hang out and have fun,” he said.

The weekly events can draw impressive crowds, but Gingras said parking shouldn't be in short supply. The town has connected its parking lot on Schoolhouse Lane with the lot behind the Cape Cod Five and TD Bank.

“That adds about 30 spaces to the municipal parking lot,” Gingras said. The new spaces are expected to be available for use by the end of this week, he added.

Port Summer Nights is organized by a committee of 10 or 11 volunteers which has been actively meeting since January. The daunting task of lining up acts for eight weekly events has gone well, Gingras said.

“It's been great.”

The event has its own Facebook page, which lists the acts scheduled for each week.

“It will also have updates for different activities,” Gingras said. In the past, visitors had the chance to throw a baseball and dunk the town administrator, the chairman of selectmen or the school superintendent. It was a hit.

“You can be sure the dunk tank will be back this year,” he said.