Monday, August 13, 2012

Michigan Pirate Festival

The Michigan Pirate Festival was last week. It is actually multiple events. The first happens at the public library and runs Monday through Friday. This was a highly successful, kids-oriented event. There were long lines each day and thousands attended. Late Friday afternoon has a "pirate sail-in". The sail-in had to be cancelled this year because of bad weather. Waves ranged from 4' close to shore to 5'-7' further out. It was also raining much of the day.

On Saturday and Sunday the festival moved and expanded to Harbor Island. This is the part that we participated in.

The festival was set up as a large square. A timeline of historic pirates was on one side. The far side featured ren-fair pirates. The isles in-between had vendors. The middle of the square was devoted to entertainment, much of it kid-oriented.

We were set up beside the Forsaken. We brought my boat the Firefly which was mounted with my swivel gun. I also brought my cannon, a navigation display, and some weapons. Beside us was Mission the Pirate-Surgeon with his ever-popular display of early 18th century medical equipment. The Forsaken had a large set-up with a tavern, their gibbet and pillory, and a couple of other tents.

Across from us was Shenanigans in Leather with SOS Boss doing their own kids' activities.

Further down in the other direction was a different pirate display, some Civil War "pirates", a viking, a Corsair, and some Romans. The Romans brought some siege equipment and a cross. They were big on crucifying people. They even crucified Tinkerbell a couple of times.

The kids area included some famous literary pirates such as Captain Hook who was accompanied by Peter Pan and Tinkerbell and the Dread Pirate Roberts who was accompanied by Princess Buttercup. There was also story-telling, a puppet show, and a trio of mermaids in kiddy pools. There was also a pair of Captain Jack Sparrows (not counting the Jack Sparrow puppet).

Beyond that was a stage that featured fire dancers and an abbreviated Romeo and Juliet. The dancers were accompanied by a couple of electric guitars and a drum set.

Over in the corner was a tavern with what sounded like a decent Irish band. I was too busy to go over and listen to them.

Saturday was cool, sunny, and windy. We brought a shade fly for Mission but the wind pulled the stakes out of the ground (which was still soft from the previous day's rain) and we gave up. We did get the fly to stay up on Sunday which was a little warmer but overcast with less wind.

There was a rather confused battle both days. This involved some of the pirates taking Caesar captive and his being saved by the Forsaken. We were on the same side as the forsaken so we hauled the cannon and the boat to one end of the field (the swivel gun was still mounted on the boat). The other side had a Civil War cannon.

The battle started with Tinkerbell delivering a message to Caesar who had her crucified for her efforts. She probably gave some kids nightmares on Saturday with her acting although once she was up on the cross she said, "I can see my house from here."

After the end of the battle on Saturday the Romans demonstrated their siege equipment. The "Medieval" trebuchet was less than impressive although a different weapons whose name escapes me was able to send an arrow an impressive distance.

On Sunday they fine-tuned the trebuchet and launched some mellons. One wild shot nearly dropped a mellon of Mad d'Dogg. The final one went straight up and almost hit the trebuchet.

We had a stead stream of people although the festival never seemed crowded. We heard on Sunday that 4,000 people had attended on Saturday. I'm sure that the Sunday attendance was at over 2,000.

The festival itself was enjoyable and most of the people who had been at Put-in-Bay were there so we had plenty of friends with us.

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