Pirates Week 2013: The buccaneers be invading!

Do you sense a shift in the winds? Do you see the tides turning? Are you hearing the strains of sea shanties in the distance? It can all only mean one thing – Pirates Week is upon us, and soon the swashbucklers and wenches will be invading the town for drinks, food and much merriment. Time to don your tricorn hat and head for the harbor where the revelry awaits you!

Pirates Week promises all the fun and familiar events you have to come to anticipate with excitement, along with a few other additions to the schedule. It’s fun for the whole family from sundown on Thursday, Nov. 7 through Sunday, Nov. 17 with live music, local food, performers and competitions aplenty.

Here are just some of the highlights of this fantastic annual festival:

The first few days

It all begins with a bang on Harbour Drive, Thursday, Nov. 7, as school steel pan bands battle it out in CUC’s “Pan In De City” competition. The Cayman Prep School will be defending its title against some hot contenders, so it should be an energetic display of talent before the winner is crowned.

Revelers can then head north to Cayman Cabana for the Welcome Party, before moving on to The Wharf for its annual Pre-Pirates Week Kickoff Party. The Wharf is known for this awesome event, including a live band and beverages until the wee hours.

Wear your dancing boots!

On Friday you’ll want to get into town early to pick your spot for the fireworks, beginning at 8:30 p.m. It is always a spectacular show of sound and color, lighting up the sky over George Town harbor – a definite family favorite.

Once the fireworks are done, folks can enjoy the best local food around and some cold beverages as they dance to the rhythms of top Caribbean group “Kes The Band” out of Trinidad. It will be an evening to remember!

Saturday brings the first annual Kids Boat Race from 1 to 2 p.m. where children from the local public schools race in boats they have built themselves. Come out to support them and cheer on your favorites.

Straight afterwards is the pre-landing entertainment with street performers delighting the crowds up and down Harbour Drive, followed by the much anticipated Pirates Landing spectacular. Watch and join in as the pirates “take” George Town with many “Arrrr”s and “Shiver me timbers”s being bandied about. Adults and children always love a good landing, so this is one not to miss.

Stick around for the District Float Parade that follows, and then the street party featuring hot local bands in full swing.

Through the week

The district day celebrations allow each district to show off its talents, particularly when it comes to great food and music. Stop by West Bay, North Side, Bodden Town, George Town, and finally, East End, to sample their delights.
East End is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 15, and is actually bringing in six top Bajan soca artists, including Alison “Queen of Soca” Hinds. If you’re a fan of soca music (and who isn’t?) then you’ll want to make the East End district day a priority in your calendar.

The final weekend

The final Saturday and Sunday are chockfull of activities, including the wildly popular Cardboard Boat Race. Teams have been building their crafts for months out of nothing but cardboard and well placed duct tape. The creations are incredible to behold, but will they stay afloat once launched? Get to the harbor in the afternoon to find out!

This event has grown every year, and hundreds of people turn out to watch the fun. Lots of laughs are guaranteed, particularly when some of the less seaworthy vessels begin to collapse before reaching the finish line.

Later that night is the last street dance of Pirates Week with lots of live music and refreshments, and you can work off the calories the next day by participating in the Mike Lockwood Memorial International Swim Meet, or the Jerry Harper 10K Run.

If you still have energy left, head to the Mango Tree for the Mickey Mouse Darts Tournament; it’s sport without the muscle strain.

Pirates Week is a fantastic festival for anyone who appreciates great entertainment with all the fixings. Get your costume ready to greet the pirates, and prepare for Cayman to be boarded!