Get on board for Pirates Week

More information on all events and how you can get involved with registration for the races, events and float parade is available at

Aaargh ya ready for the most Piratey festival ever to hit these fair shores?

If not, then yer had better get your mainbrace spliced in double-quick style: Cayman’s National Festival Pirates Week is coming up quicker than a landlubber falling over in a squall.

The ten days of magic and fun begin on Saturday, 10 November, 2011 marking the 34th year that this unique, family-friendly, heritage-filled festival of fun, frolics and sword-mastery has brought Cayman’s colourful past, present and future to life.

There will be music, street dances, competitions, games, wonderful local food and drink, a kids’ day, a glittering float parade, sports events for everyone, Heritage Days, a pirate invasion and fireworks galore. Organisers rightly say that there is just too much going on for you to miss out on.

It all begins with a fantastic steel pan competition and kick-off party on Thursday night, also featuring the crowning of the Festival Queen. Come Friday night the festival goes off with a bang with a spectacular fireworks display. With a Pirate Costume competition and the National Song Contest that night there is no better place to be in the Caribbean.

On the first Saturday there is the famous mock ‘pirate invasion’ from the sea. Two old-time sailing vessels, loaded with pirates make a Saturday surprise landing at the bowl-shaped George Town harbour with the pirates capturing the Governor. Thousands of people line the streets to watch the spectacle and it’s all good-natured fun with a new twist every year. Families just love it. It’s the only event of its kind in the Caribbean.

SaxonMG is a new presenting sponsor for 2011, and the company will preside over a host of entertaining and educational moments, including a number of energetic events for those who prefer a more visceral time of it.

Expect the famous 5k run and 10k runs, a 5k sea swim the Mike Lockwood Memorial Swim Meets, a darts competition (and yes we do count that as a sport) plus of course the ever-popular and ever-hilarious cardboard boat race where teams vie to take the prize of the fastest vessel – made solely from cardboard – to complete the course at Hog Sty Bay. Added last year was a special Walking on Water contest – the fun literally never stops at Pirates Week.

Then there’s the underwater treasure hunt, kids fun fairs, national song competition and the deliciously delivered street dance and food festivals to take in. It’s truly a reflection of the creativity and passion of Cayman and Caymanians, with thousands of visitors also coming down from far and wide to get involved in the fun. Expect teams of pirates from all parts of the United States, with familiar faces and new names guaranteed.

It’s all going on, whether above or below the water – there’s snapper cook-off promised for kids under 16 too. Early birds might be well advised to start looking at flights for Saturday, 5 November when gorgeous Little Cayman hosts its own Heritage Day, the first in a series of similar events which take in all the districts.

Each will be presenting their history, culinary heritage, music, traditional arts and crafts and storytelling throughout the week of Pirates Week proper. Finally, Cayman Brac takes its place in the sun from 24 to 27 November as they celebrate their own weekend in typical style.

More information on all events and how you can get involved with registration for the races, events and float parade is available at Perhaps you fancy being one of those scurvy dogs that come and take the governor prisoner during the invasion? Maybe you’d like to be one of those who help the governor try and escape? The festival organisers are always keen to hear from people interested in becoming involved in this unique festival which is putting Cayman right on the map.

So polish up your swords, get eating ship’s biscuits and ready yourself for the latest invasion of the pirates. The festival has gone from strength to strength over the past few years and organisers are confident that 2011’s offering will be the most spectacular ever, with more events, a massive swathe of community involvement and some of the greatest smiles in the region. And if you’re not convinced, we’ll make you walk the plank. WH


Chris Court and Alan Markoff