If you’ve been looking for an excuse to dress up like a pirate and say “arrr matey” and “ahoy” all day, the wait is over.
The Ladysmith Maritime Society (LMS) is kicking off its 2013 Ladysmith Maritime Festival Event Series with Kids’ Pirate Day Saturday, June 1.
Leading up to Kids’ Pirate Day, Captain Jack Sparrow and Miss Scarlette will take part in a pirate walk around town Thursday, May 30. The pirate walk will begin at Ladysmith Family and Friends at Aggie Hall at 11 a.m., and pirates will saunter through town and catch a trolley ride to Coronation Mall, “plundering and causing mayhem as we go,” says festival chair Cliff Fisher.
Kids’ Pirate Day is the first of a revamped Ladysmith Maritime Festival that sees the format change from one weekend full of activities to two separate single-day festivals with their own unique themes.
Kids’ Pirate Day will take place Saturday, June 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the LMS Community Marina.
This fun family event will include the ever-popular Kinsmen Bullhead Derby, bouncy octopus and pirate slide, face painting, crafts, a petting zoo from Tiger Lily Farm, food, an interactive musician and fun with Farmer Vicki and Daisy the Cow. Ladysmith Family and Friends will have a table at the festival, and the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association (LDBA) will be handing out treasure hunt maps, and young pirates will have a chance to search for treasure downtown and at Coronation Mall.
“It’s not much different from years past,” said Fisher. “It’s just a good, fun day. The kids have a fun day. They’re allowed to do whatever their parents let them.”
During the day, there will be some heritage boats on display and the floating museum will be open. The Ladysmith Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue, who will be on hand to do first aid, will be doing demonstrations if they aren’t on a call.
Fisher says the bullhead derby is always a lot of fun, and he expects many children to come to the dock to try to catch a bullhead.
“There have been some big ones seen in the last few days,” he noted.
Captain Jack and Miss Scarlette will be at the festival for pictures, as well as lots of pirate tomfoolery.
Fisher says that above all, Kids Pirate Day focuses on fun.
“It’s really for kids,” he said. “From the time you step down on the parking lot and then down to the docks, it will be fun all along. There will be kids hanging everywhere.”
The Ladysmith Maritime Festival began back in the 1990s, but after a few years, it became an open house for the LMS, according to Fisher.
The festival was revived in 2007 with Wayne Jesse as the festival chair. He, his wife Irene and friends showed up at the festival in wonderful pirate outfits, and that was the beginning of the pirates of Ladysmith. Kelly Turner was the chair the next year and the pirate theme expanded to include a pirate costume judging contest.
Fisher took over in 2009, continuing to promote pirates. In the ensuing years, they added a pirate walk through town during the week before the festival, and the LDBA set up a pirate treasure hunt on festival day to take young pirates up into the shops.