Meet Provincetown’s Official Town Crier!
In medieval Europe, it was the job of the town crier to inform townspeople of the latest news, proclamations, bylaws, and other important information. The role was necessary, as most people couldn’t read. And while we now turn to the Internet or the newspaper for local news, it’s a fun bit of continuity that Daniel Gómez Llata is Provincetown’s own official town crier, following a local tradition that’s endured for 168 years and that Radu Luca, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, calls “iconic.”
Gómez Llata spent the early days of the pandemic on Commercial Street, encouraging passersby to follow the town’s mask mandate, and (oddly enough!) he enjoyed the role. “I received many unexpected responses to my requests,” he remarks in what is clearly an understatement. So when Kenneth Lonergan—town crier for the past 13 years—announced his retirement in 2020, the Chamber saw Gómez Llata as Lonergan’s obvious replacement; he has a deep history with the town and a personality that can take on anything the public throws his way. “I always thought it was the best job in the world,” Gómez Llata confesses. “I never thought for a moment that the bell would eventually be passed to me!”
These days, the town crier doesn’t share the news; he’s part of the town’s welcome to visitors, and as such answers questions, shares tidbits of local lore, and of course poses for photographs. Gómez Llata has added his own touches, leading the town’s various parades, researching and devising his own historically appropriate costumes, and proclaiming information every day at noon in front of Town Hall; he has truly made the role his own. “The one non-negotiable requirement,” he says, “is a loud voice!”
Past town criers have been colorful—George Washington Ready told outlandish tales of encountering a sea-serpent, and Amos Kubik insisted on letting people know “the Mayflower landed here, not there”—and Gómez Llata is more than ready to take on the mantle of his memorable predecessors. So make sure you greet him when you see him welcoming tourists at MacMillan Pier or proclaiming the news at town hall; he’s sure to have a good story to share with you!