As the temperatures get cooler, the wind shifts (me hearties) and the mistress of the sea puts on her finery in preparation for Cayman Islands Pirates Week being held this year from 12th to 22nd November. Didn’t you know that a week is 11 days in pirate time? Shiver me timbers…
For over the past 20 years the Cayman Islands have hosted one of the most popular Caribbean celebrations of the year where adults and children come out in costume to enjoy great music, fabulous food and cold drinks whilst basking in the glow of live entertainment throughout the day and into the night.
What began as a small festival has grown into a mammoth event with fans all over the globe. Visitors arrange their vacations so they can come down to transform into swashbucklers and locals get a cornucopia of mouth-watering classic cuisine being served up in all the districts. Yessir, Pirates Week is the place to be for good times and grog.
As usual, the days are jam-packed full of activities and those attending for the first time will be happy to hear that entrance is free for most events. Thanks to generous sponsorship from resident businesses and the hard work of the Pirates Week Committee, this year is shaping up to be bigger than ever. The major sponsors for this year’s event are Digicel, the Caymanian Compass, Cayman Airways, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, dms Broadcasting, Radio Cayman and Cayman 27.
It all kicks off on Thursday, 12th November with Happy Hour at Breezes by the Bay, the perfect spot from which one can survey the harbour in anticipation of the festivities to come, followed by the traditional party at The Wharf Restaurant and Bar.
Friday the 13th has never seemed so lucky as the fitness buffs can join in the Pirates Week 5K run whilst the music lovers enjoy Pirates Rock Happy Hour at the Hard Rock Café. Make sure you get downtown early for the spectacular annual fireworks display at 7.30pm and cheer for your choice for Miss Festival Queen and the Songfest competition. The Street Dance and Food Festival revs up at 9pm and goes until 2am so you’ll have plenty of time to get your groove on.
On Saturday it is the big day for all pirates to don their hats, pull on their boots and head to the harbour front for the Pirates Landing. Some people will have been up for hours already after participating in the 5K Sea Swim that very morning, so come on ye landlubbers – get moving, the sun be setting soon! The pre-landing entertainment begins at 2pm with the main event in all its pageantry arriving at 3pm. The Pirates take the town and then all is forgiven with a float parade. At 7pm it is dancing in the streets and grub aplenty, with even a Teen Up non-alcoholic social for the younger adults.
Sunday doesn’t get going until the afternoon when families may like to stop by the Children’s Fun Fair Day at the St. Ignatius School. For all the treasure hunters out there, X marks the spot at Dive Tech in West Bay. The Underwater Treasure Hunt starts at 1pm – don’t miss registration and your chance to find some booty.
The weekdays see the ever-popular Heritage Days, with each district celebrating its own in style. On Monday head on up to East End and sample the legendary cuisine that everyone raves about. Tuesday is West Bay, abounding in entertainment and refreshments, while Wednesday is when you jump in your boat or car and go to North Side. This is also the first day of the Mike Lockwood Memorial International Swim Meet at the Lions Pool. Thursday is Bodden Town Heritage Day – the original capital of the Cayman Islands and home to a number of artefacts from the good old days. Come Friday, it is George Town’s turn and the second day of the Swim Meet.
Saturday is chock-full o’ fun with the Golf Tournament at a sprightly 8am and the third day of the Swim Meet starting at the same time.
Savannah/Newlands hold their Heritage Day, whilst out on the water elsewhere the starting gun readies itself to announce the beginning of the Cardboard Boat Race at 4pm. This boat race has quickly become a firm fixture and is hilarious both as a participant and spectator sport – not to be missed.
At 7.30pm gather ye for the Trial of the Pirates in George Town, and then it is another display of fireworks sure to delight one and all. The Street Dance finale and final Teen Up disco go from 8pm to midnight.
Just in case you haven’t worn yourself out enough with the festivities above, you can get up for the 7am Pirates Week 10K Run on Sunday morning, or head to the Lions Pool at 8am for the final day of the Swim Meet. Those who prefer less physical activity can make their way to Jillian’s Billiard Lounge for the Mickey Mouse Darts Tournament.
Pirates Week appeals to all ages and is a guaranteed good time. Just remember to use one of the special balms that they didn’t have back in those days – sun block. A burnt pirate is an unhappy pirate. Enjoy!
For more information visit piratesweekfestival.com WH