There is something just so endlessly intriguing about the world of pirates. From their rugged rum soaked appearances, carefree lifestyles and colourful language to the tales of life lived high on the seas and the pirate captains’ amusing pseudonyms (Blackbeard/ Half-Bottom anyone?). It’s true that the modern world, with a lot of help from Hollywood, has “glammed” it up just a little bit – but that’s why we love it….and evidently we aren’t the only ones, for the Caymans’ annual Pirates Festival continues to be a hit year after year.
Each year for actually almost two weeks (Pirates week and a half?) in November the Cayman islands become a hive of Pirate-themed activities with music, street dances, competitions, games, local food and drink, kids days, parades, sports days, Heritage Days, pirate invasions and fireworks! There is simply loads happening – and all of it with a Pirate theme – complete with a little swashbuckling, ship sailing and lots of fancy-dress.
The festival begins with a steel pan competition and a party, and on the Friday night the festival goes off with a (literal) bang with a huge fireworks display! Afterwards a Festival Queen is selected and the opening Street Dance and Food Festival begin – making Cayman undoubtedly one of the best places to be in the Caribbean.
On the first Saturday there is a “pirate invasion” from the sea with two old-time pirate-esque sailing vessels complete with pirate flags and loaded with pirates landing at the George Town harbour. Generally speaking the spectacle is the same each year – with the pirates capturing the Governor and throwing around the odd black-toothed grin whilst swigging Rum – though there’s usually a new twist or two thrown in for good measure as well….all to the delight of the thousands of people watching.
If you’re interested in the Cayman’s history then you should also steer yourself in the direction of the many cultural days that take place during the Pirates Week – there’s generally one at Bodden Town, George Town and in West Bay – but take a look at the website for the up to date list – as things do change each year.
At the Heritage Days – attendees can see what life was like a hundred years ago and experience the traditional and delicious food of the Cayman Islands. If you’re more into active recreation then you may want to watch or even take part in one of the sports events which includes a 5k swim at the Grand Cayman beach suites, a 5k and 10k run and circuit races for kids! Throughout the festival there are live bands, street dances, treasure hunts (underwater of course..), and plenty of food and cultural festivals.
If you have kids that like to dress up – then you won’t want to miss the annual Children’s Pirate Costume competition.
The History of the Festival
Though initially set up, in the summer of 1977, as a bit of a marketing ploy to pull people to the islands – Pirates Week has become as important for some (especially those who grew up with it) as Christmas and New Year.
It takes place at the beginning of November and has grown into a behemoth of a festival – attracting thousands of residents and visitors each and every year – both local and international. Today the festival is a celebration of Caymanian culture and is officially referred to as “Pirates Week National Festival”.
Check this link for more info – Official Page