Pirates preparing for Ladysmith Maritime Festival May 25-27

The annual Maritime Festival features live music, a bullhead fishing derby, kids' activities, maritime displays and lots of pirates.

Four-year-old Sarina Stirling gets into the pirate spirit for the Ladysmtih Maritime Festival

Four-year-old Sarina Stirling gets into the pirate spirit for the Ladysmtih Maritime Festival

Have you found a pirate costume yet?

If not, you’re in luck — there is still some time to find the perfect nautical garb before the Ladysmith Maritime Festival.

The festival, presented by the Ladysmith Maritime Society [LMS], takes place May 25-27, and it’s a weekend full of free family entertainment, mostly centred around the Ladysmith Community Marina and the LMS amphitheatre and parking lot at 610 Oyster Bay Dr.

Throughout the Maritime Festival, there will be a Kinsmen Bullhead Fishing Derby, live music, children’s activities, vendors, Coast Guard demonstrations and much more.

Ladysmith will get a taste of the excitement Weds., May 23 during the Pirates’ Walkabout parade throughout town, sponsored by the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association [LDBA] in partnership with the LMS.

Children will gather at Ladysmith Family and Friends [LaFF] at Aggie Hall at 11 a.m. for a five-hour fun-filled event. The first hour will be spent at LaFF, and then the plundering begins, with pirates spreading out along First Avenue. The pirates will take a trolley ride to Coronation Mall and get a chance to meet Captain Jack Sparrow.

Before the Maritime Festival begins, there will be a grand opening ceremony for the LMS’s new floating Marine Reception Centre Fri., May 25.

That evening, there will be the St’zuminus Cultural Dinner at 6 p.m. at the Stz’uminus Community Centre. Tickets are available at the LMS office or by calling 250-245-0109.

Maritime Festival activities run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat., May 26 and Sun., May 27, with live music continuing until 8 p.m. May 26.

“The exciting thing for the organizers is come Saturday morning, there’s 200 or 300 kids starting to come down to the festival site, and they’ve got their pirate costumes on, and they’ve got their fishing rod and bucket or tackle box for the Kinsmen Bullhead Fishing Derby,” said festival chair Cliff Fisher. “That’s probably the most fun.”

Throughout the weekend, there will be Coast Guard demonstrations right in the shallows of the marina, and the Maritime Museum is open, noted Fisher.

There will also be harbour tours, heritage boats, tall ships, naval vessels and LMS museum displays, as well as displays by the Mid Island Vintage Tractor and Equipment Club.

New this year is the Pirates Duel in the Pirates’ Den of Doom, which will take place May 26 and 27 at the LMS amphitheatre and is a fundraiser for the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce. Duelling contestants have an opportunity to raise a $100 bounty fee or $200 for a tag team, with the money going to a worthy cause.

Young pirates will take over Ladysmith once again May 26 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., as they search for hidden treasure downtown and at Coronation Mall during the Treasure Hunt sponsored by the LDBA.

The Ladysmith Maritime Festival’s grand launch will take place May 26 at 12:30 p.m.

Throughout the weekend, there will be face painting, Daisy and Farmer Vicki, clowns, First Nations storytelling tents, children’s activities, hay rides, the Kids’ Zone Jumparound pirate slide and bouncy octopus, a petting zoo, the Kinsmen beer garden and, for the first time, a seafood kiosk.

There will be a rich selection of live music, ranging from the ensemble of 35 professional musicians who form the Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific, Canada’s Navy band on the West Coast, to the always popular two-time Juno Award-winning folk singer Valdy, who will be the featured performer May 26 from 6-8 p.m., and Sunday’s featured performers, Saskia and Darrel.

Fisher is excited for the upcoming fun-filled family festival that celebrates community and life on the waterfront.

“It is really fun,” he said. “It is worth doing when you walk around and see the smiles on kids’ faces.”

Find more information about the Maritime Festival here.