Discovering Cayman’s Heritage

One of the major draws of Pirates Week is the ability to really get under the skin of what makes the Cayman Islands tick.

These individual days allow each district to showcase their current and past skills, techniques and histories as well as providing huge amounts of entertainment along the way.

The 2011 Pirates Week presented by Saxon MG is going to be no different, with a host of excellent and exciting ways to spend your time here. Whether a tourist visiting for the first time – in which case, welcome – or an interested resident the Heritage Days are a wonderful opportunity to find out all about traditional techniques including silver thatch weaving, fish fry, other delicious Cayman foods, art, local goods from land and sea and so much more.

The chances are also there to get acquainted with local music and musicians, whose very tunes themselves speak of the personality and welcoming nature of these special islands. Because each area has its own special history and background, the districts have a great deal to offer.

Little Cayman

First up is Little Cayman, where festivities begin on Friday, 4 November.

It all kicks off at the Hungry Iguana with a domino tournament, the first prize being $500, second prize $250 and third prize – not to be sniffed at – two sets of dinner for two at Little Cayman Beach Resort.

The parade begins at 3pm on Saturday, 5 November, at Head O’Bay and this year’s theme is marine life. There are first, second, third and kids’ prizes for best floats plus those for best dressed pirate, wench and male and female child pirates.

At 8pm the fireworks kick off a dance at Hungry Iguana. C-Level Band will take the stage and the traditional spot prizes will be handed out for best dancer and many more surprises.

After the opening weekend the Heritage Days on the main island begin with Bodden Town/Savannah on Monday, 14 November. Cayman’s first capital always has something fabulous up its sleeve so we’re definitely looking forward to this one.

It’s the turn of the current capital, George Town, on Tuesday 15th then East End takes centre stage at the Heritage Field on Wednesday, 16 November. West Bay’s Heritage Site is the location of the West Bay Heritage Day on Thursday 17th and then the Water Key Public Park – next to Kaibo – hosts the North Side Heritage Day on Friday, 18 November. Plenty of goodies in that little lot!

Brac party
Now Pirates Week on the main island might be over after Sunday, 20 November, but Cayman Brac has other ideas and carries on the party between 24th and 27th November – and they sure know how to put on a great celebration in the rugged rock with the beautiful beaches.

Things begin at 6pm with the Pirates Week Courtyard Kick-Off BBQ at the Alexander Hotel, which is sure to be as popular as it always is. La Esperanza takes up the reins from 9pm to 2am with a kick-off dance.

The kids get a look-in at 1pm on Friday, 25th, with the Junior Scavenger Hunt, then there’s the famous airport welcome reception between 6pm and 7pm, followed by the pirates welcome party.

Heritage Day, held as ever at the Cayman Brac Heritage House, this year on Saturday, 26th November, between 9am and 1pm.  There will be many stalls of different arts and crafts, music, games, food and activities for the adults and kids and also bring family heirlooms and antiques.

A Happy Hour takes place at Alexander Hotel from 2pm to 4pm before the parade winds its merry way from there to Scotts Dock for the fireworks and then the send-off dance.

Sunday’s family fun dominoes tournament takes place at 1pm at Brac Reef Beach Resort – be sure to register from 11am – and then there are afternoon activities for the kids including Treasure Hunt and Rock Painting.

It’s this that makes Pirates Week Cayman’s National Festival; the Heritage Days are a truly inclusive set of experiences that manage to showcase history whilst having a lot of fun, too. WH

Popular food
When going to the Heritage Days don’t forget to eat the local fare! While there is someone in each district who is the best at making a local dish, the methods and tastes vary from district to district. Compare heavy cake made in West Bay to that in East End. For the best turtle stew, we fondly suggest North Side, but Bodden Town would probably disagree.

Be on the lookout for native artefacts at Heritage sites. Try on a pair of wompers or watch a thatching demonstration. See how food is prepared on a caboose and drink in the native dress of children in each district.