Families flood to Ladysmith Maritime Festival

More young families came to Ladysmith's seventh annual Maritime Festival.

Six-year-old Callum Epp-Evans is entranced by a glamorous mermaid at the seventh annual Ladysmith Marine Festival held over the weekend at the Ladysmith Community Marina. The mermaid

Six-year-old Callum Epp-Evans is entranced by a glamorous mermaid at the seventh annual Ladysmith Marine Festival held over the weekend at the Ladysmith Community Marina. The mermaid

There was plenty of swashbuckling fun to be had at the seventh annual Ladysmith Maritime Festival this past weekend.

Festival chair Cliff Fisher said while attendance didn’t appear any higher this year, Saturday’s events saw a great crowd of visitors and residents.

“It’s really hard to know solid numbers because we don’t have a way of counting,” he said. “One of the impressive things was we had about a 20-per-cent increase in young families that came down. It was quite noticeable.”

Hundreds of pirate-costumed kids flocked to the petting zoo [a new addition to this year’s festival], the bouncy castle and slide, the face painting booth and the dock, where a bullhead derby took place both days.

“There was a tremendous number of people with rods dressed as pirates,” Fisher said.

Musical acts and performers were peppered throughout the weekend and entertained the masses, including a mini concert by Valdy that was attended by more than 250 people.

Costumed characters like Captain Jack Sparrow and his crew milled about the grounds making lighthearted trouble.

Food vendors like the Ladysmith Lions provided glorious smells and tasty treats to satiate the pirates’ appetites, while the Kinsmen provided a beer garden for adult pirates to have a brew. Artisans set up camp and showed off their wares, which included everything from paintings and silverware to wood carvings.

Approximately 35-40 volunteers kept things running on schedule each day.

“I didn’t see a sad face; everybody had a lot of fun with the pirates and clowns, every kid smiled, we had had no major incidents or problems. It was a smooth, well-rounded festival,” Fisher said.

While planning is not yet in the works for next year’s festival, organizers are considering changing the format to two mini festivals, or keeping the event as is.