Time for buccaneers and wenches to band together for the 39th annual Pirates Week Festival, this year dubbed the “Age of Romance.”
It seems that a pirate and the daughter of the governor have fallen in love and despite all the usual objections to their courtship, they simply can’t resist the forces that pull them together. What happens at the end of the story? You’ll have to attend the Pirates Week Landing on Nov. 12.
Here are some of the highlights of the festival this year. For the full schedule, you can visit the Pirates Week website listed at the end of this article.
Little Cayman celebrations
The smaller of the Sister Islands may be little, but she’s fierce, and she certainly won’t be left out of a good time.
The annual schedule wouldn’t be the same without her, and it gives landlubbers on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac the chance to fly out and celebrate on a different island. Make a weekend of it!
There is a kick-off dance and fireworks at McCoy’s Lodge on the Friday, followed by a float parade, costume competition, dance and fireworks on the Saturday, and finally, the Pirates Farewell Lunch on Sunday.
Fly over and join in the fun!
Happy Hour and Kick-Off Party
Head to Margaritaville for the happy hour from 5:30-9 p.m. and then make your way to The Wharf, which sponsors the opening night party every year. Pirates can dance the night away until 2 a.m.
Fireworks and Street Dance
A large percentage of the population makes its way to George Town for the first Friday night of Pirates Week.
What’s not to love? There is a 5k for the fitness fanatics among us, the Miss Festival Queen competition, a very impressive firework display at 8:30 p.m. that lights up Hog Sty Bay, and then the Street Dance along Harbour Drive. Mouthwatering local dishes are on sale all night, so if you have a hankering for jerk this or curried that, this is the place to be.
Get your Saturday shopping done early, because at 1 p.m., food vendors will be set up along Shedden Road, off Harbour Drive, ready to feed revelers in town for the Landing Pageant. The pre-Landing entertainment starts at 2 p.m. and at 3 p.m., the Jolly Roger comes into town laden with Pirates ready to “take” the capital. After much swordplay and “arrrrrrrr”-ing, it’s time for the Float Parade on Harbour Drive and the Street Dance until midnight.
Children’s Fun Fair
Take the kids to the “castle” for the afternoon. Pedro St. James is ground zero for family activities from noon to 4 p.m.
Wet Fete, Pan In De City, BT Heritage Day
The Pirates Week Monday has been typically quiet over the years, focusing on the Bodden Town Heritage Day. This year, however, there is lots going on. The very popular CUC’s Pan In De City features a steel pan competition and showcase, and has been moved from Harbour Drive to Pedro St. James in Savannah, starting at 6 p.m. It is an extension of the Heritage Day which will be running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Bodden Town proper. Anyone with energy left can make their way to George Town afterwards for the Wet Fete that starts at midnight and goes until 4 a.m.
Each district in the Cayman Islands has its day to shine the spotlight on the arts, crafts, food and entertainment it has to offer. Tuesday is George Town; Wednesday is East End; Thursday is West Bay; and Friday is North Side. If anyone at your office says, “I’m taking food orders for [insert District here] – do you want anything?” take them up on their offer, otherwise you’ll regret it, come lunchtime.
Cardboard Boat Race, Illumination Night Parade
There are too many things happening on this Saturday to list here, so again, go to the Festival website to see it all. Two events you really shouldn’t miss are the Caybrew Cardboard Boat Race, with vessels at the ready from 2:30 p.m., and the Illumination Night Parade. The boat race always descends into hilarity, as impressive semi-seaworthy crafts take to the water in the hope of staying afloat, and winning the race. The Illumination Night Parade is pretty new to Pirates Week, but is certainly worth a look. It happens along Harbour Drive at 7 p.m., leading into another firework display and street dance.
To Hell and Back 10k Run/Walk
It starts at 7 a.m. Need we say more?
Cayman Brac celebrations
If you are still craving more pirate partying, fly to Cayman Brac to join in the festivities there. The Family Bonfire is held at Heritage House Beach at 6 p.m. on Friday, followed by the Pirates Party Kick-Off Dance at La Esperanza until 2 a.m. On Saturday, there are Heritage Day events, the Float Parade, Happy Hour, the Finale Party at the Cayman Brac Reef Resort and fireworks at 8 p.m.
For more information and a full schedule, see www.piratesweekfestival.com.