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Pirate Festival exceeds expectations

 

Bruce Ellis, Kat Benjamin and Mike Moran organized the first Pirates of the Pacific Festival at the Port of Brookings Harbor. Pilot photo/Bill Schlichting
 

Masses of people dressed in pirate costumes, piles of pirate grub, festive entertainment and lines of vendors filled the port this weekend for Brookings’ first pirate festival.

“It met all my expectations plus. I didn’t expect that many people. That blew my mind,” festival director of operations Bruce Ellis said of the Pirates of the Pacific Festival. 

The festival, which took place July 22-24, was a huge success. Between 5,000 and 6,000 people attended the  three-day festival, according to Mike Moran, festival crew director.

 

 

Masses of people dressed in pirate costumes, piles of pirate grub, festive entertainment and lines of vendors filled the port this weekend for Brookings’ first pirate festival.

“It met all my expectations plus. I didn’t expect that many people. That blew my mind,” festival director of operations Bruce Ellis said of the Pirates of the Pacific Festival. 

The festival, which took place July 22-24, was a huge success. Between 5,000 and 6,000 people attended the  three-day festival, according to Mike Moran, festival crew director.

“Everything happened like I wanted it to,” Ellis said. “People came to town. It brought more people to the community. It brought revenue to the community, and it brought a big festival to the community.”

Festival highlights included the canon firings, Brotherhood of Oceanic Mercenaries (BOOM), the sword fights and the fire juggling, Ellis said. 

Moran said another draw was the constant entertainment.  When one act ended, another started, Moran said.

“Basically the feedback is that everybody was really thrilled, and everyone was asking if we’re going to have another one next year,” Ellis said. “The answer is, of course we are.”

“The compliments that I heard from people is that there was always something going on,” Moran added. “Different entertainers and different vendors than most people have seen at any of the festivals in Brookings.”

Ellis said that Kat Benjamin and Mike Moran were instrumental in the festival’s success. Benjamin was the “computer geek,” and Moran handled the entertainment, Ellis said.

 

At this weekend’s festival, there were about 30 vendors from all over the United States.

Local jewelry vendor Nanci Dill of Pickle Design said the festival turnout beat her expectations.

“I had my best weekend since I’ve been selling jewelry,” Dill said. “It was very, very good business.”

Dill opened her business in January. She said she sold twice as much as she usually sells.

“It brought more local people. More local people got to see what I’m selling,” Dill said. “It was good for the economy because it brought so many different vendors and people here in town.”

The festival also brought a lot of people from out of town. Moran said every motel in town was full.

“It brought something to the community that everybody could enjoy,” Ellis said. “The community made it happen. I want to thank them all.”

Moran said the Port of Brookings Harbor did a lot to help as well.

“They are one of the people we want to thank the most for their cooperation,” he said. “The crews did a marvelous job helping set up and break down. Simple things like emptying the garbage. Their guys were out all three days keeping garbage cans clean, and making sure that we had what we needed. Without their cooperation it would have been impossible to do this.”

Moran said it was the “biggest opening day ever seen for a festival. We had a huge turnout, more than expected on Friday.”

Saturday and Sunday also attracted large crowds, Moran added.

Changes for next year’s festival include having a ship, bringing in more pirate acts, more sponsors and more entertainment, Ellis said.

“I expect to see twice as many people next year, and we will have lots of fun,” Ellis said.

Next year, Moran said he hopes to bring in at least 70 vendors.

“This is not a one-time event,” Moran said. “We are hoping to make this a regular, annual event here in Brookings.”

If people are interested in donating to help offset the festival costs, they should contact either Ellis at 541-251-4422 or Moran at 541-469-6798, Moran said. 

 

 

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