Dancing, costumes, sword fights and live music are all part of the Pirates of the Pacific Festival. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
Bruce “Captain Curry” Ellis is encouraging – no, demanding at sword point – all local scallywags, wenches and picaroons to release their inner buccaneer starting Friday, or walk the plank into the briny deep.
Arrr. Yes, brethren of the coast, it’s time for the second annual Pirates of the Pacific Festival at the Port of Brookings-Harbor Friday through Sunday. Promoters promise the event will be even more scandalous, rip-roaring and sassy than last year’s popular event.
“It’s gone through the pirate community,” Ellis said of Brookings’ event. “All the people from last year are telling their friends.”
He, his entertainment director Mike Moran, and “cyberqueen” Kat Benjamin pulled the event together last year to delight crowds.
Last summer’s festival lured between 6,000 and 8,000 people to Brookings, Harbor, the Port of Brookings Harbor and beyond; this year, Ellis hopes to see between 10,000 and 12,000 people bedecked in their finest long clothing, slinking around southern Oregon.
He would know.
Ellis was the director of operations for the Virginia Renaissance Festival in Spottslvania, Va., for eight years before making berth in Brookings. During this tenure there, he hosted a week of piratical activities, which were as interactive as they were entertaining.
“I knew what a pirate festival would bring to the community,” Ellis said. “I came here and saw we had an ocean, and thought, I want to hold a pirate festival.”
This year, he said, there will be more entertainment, re-enactments and kids’ activities. And the booty collected from kids ticket sales will go to the Brookings-Harbor Community Helpers Food Bank.
Adult tickets are $2, children younger than 14 can either pay $1 or donate a nonperishable food item to go to the food bank, and children younger than 5 enter free.
The event kicks off Friday at noon with opening ceremonies on the main stage at the port. Shanties (that’s “songs” for all you lads and lassies not familiar with the lingo) will be performed by the Bloody Scupper Plunder Club, Long Blond Silver, the Pistol River Trio and B.O.O.M: The Brotherhood of Oceanic Mercenaries; pirate reggae, kids’ pirate fun, live cannon fire from the pirate encampment at the south end of the boardwalk and a sword fight on the boardwalk will also take place.
The Brookings-Harbor Community Theatre will perform “Lady Pirates of Captain Bree” on the main stage at 3 p.m. and the Chetco Players will take over from there for “Clankers” and “Steam Punk Pirates” at 4:30 p.m.
The day’s festivities blur into pirate mayhem – run for yarrr lives” – throughout town.
Music – Celtic, sea shanties and reggae – pirate magic, belly dancing and other shenanigans will take place throughout the weekend.
Locals are advised to be on the lookout for the Pirates of the Car-to-be-in from Roseburg, who plan to attack the port and take over local boats. Rumor has it that a rival pirate gang called the Wharf Rats plans to defend the turf.
Plenty of grub and grog will be available in the area, and interested local organizations are encouraged to come help man (or woman) – and share in the plunder – of booths at the event.
“This will be an epic thing,” Ellis said. “It’ll bring some money into town, and these things grow. Each year, we’re going to do more and more.”
Videos of last year’s events can be viewed on YouTube under Pirates of the Paciic Festival 2011. But be forewarned: The contents are rated Arrrr!
So, weigh anchor, hoist the mizzen, grab a grog and get thee to the festivities.