Port Washington Pirate Festival Highlights

This past weekend was the Port Washington Pirate Festival. I, and a number of friends, volunteered to add some character to the street this year, as opposed to just attending last year. I have to say, I had an absolute BLAST.

The festival is growing quite well, and is certainly received well by the town and its inhabitants. New this year was a Fireworks show that really seemed to draw out a lot of people, despite the rainy weather.

I think I could hear the phrase “Look mommy!!! A REEEEEAALLLLL PIRATE!!!!” gushed in utter delight from a child a thousand more times and never come close to getting tired of it. I can’t even begin to count the number of pictures that I posed for with families.

Off and On both days Sarah and I teamed up to wander the lanes and play with the patrons. Read on for details

  • Figurehead Tryouts; We would select a person and get them to strike their best pose for a figurehead. People ate it up, and certainly tried their best.
  • My what a big bag of treasure you have; While looking off over the upper dock railing a child and her family walked by below us on the lower dock. she looked up, her eyes widened at the site of us, and she managed a timid wave. Sara then commented on her giant bag of treasure she was carrying. I chimed in amazed at the amount of gold she was carrying so openly. We made a few more comments, and then the girl smiled and her eyes lit up. Then the little girl then climbed up on the bench below us, reached in her bag, raised her little clenched hand up to us, and as it opened she presented us each with our own piece of her golden, delicious cheese popcorn. We thanked her, she waved goodbye, and continued on with her parents, who even complimented her on how nice she was.
  • Nice Ship; We frequently played with parents and their kids in strollers, wagons, and riding on their fathers shoulders. We frequently had the kids riding on thier fathers shoulders show us how they steered their “ships”. Some chose the ears, others the hair, others still would just look at us like we were insane…. (how right they were…hehehehe) My favorite though was the father that really took it to heart and let the kid drive him off into the rocks. As we left them they were ‘sailing’ rather haphazardly down the sidewalk happily enjoying each others company.
  • What manner of vessel be this?; We came across a preteen group of boys admiring one their members dirt bike. These kids still seemed to have not fully entered the teenage “age of not believing” (thank you bedknobs and broomsticks) and so we started playing with them. “What manner of vessel be this ye command” Kid1: “It’s a bike” “A B-I-K-E ye say, such a strange contraption …” Kid2: “It’s just a bicycle” Sarah, ever the teacher : “Bicycle? Bi as in two? and oh I see cycle… wheels.. two wheels…” “Two wheels, well them what be the 3rd one in the middle?” Kid1: “Thats what you peddle to make it go… and its a BIKE!” Kid2: “No its not it’s a bicycle” “Now lad which be it, a BIKE or a bicycle?” Kid3: (finally gains the courage to speak out) “Guys BIKE is short for Bicycle” kid 1 and 2 “OH YEAH!!!!” They then proceeded to show how the peddle moved the wheels and made the bicycle go. “Seems awfully complicated ta me, give me a sail and a good wind any day” At that we thanked them for their explanation and left them to marvel at the fact that a pirate had no idea what a bicycle was.

We continued to play around off and on together both days when we ran into each other, and generally had a lot of fun with it. My hands down favorite moment though occurred while I was off on my own.

I was wandering through one of the tents Saturday afternoon, and happened to overhear a conversation between a father and his son.

Son: “Dad, Give me a piggy back ride!”

Dad: “It’ll cost you a buck…”

Son: “Aww comeone dad”

Dad: “Nope, It’ll cost you a buck…”

At this point I couldn’t resist… I reached into my pouch, pulled out a gold dollar coin, and sauntered over to them. “I’ll be taken ye up on that offer then…” The father turned and looked at me, did a little blustery laugh. His wife looked on half laughing, half dumbfounded, and the son stared up in awe… At that the father sized me up, shrigged his shoulders and said “OK, Hop on”

I was a little taken back by his willingness as my original plan was to get him to give his kid a ride instead of me, but hey… why not… I gave him one last chance to get out of it. “Sir, I’m not sure ye be realizin’ what ya be getting yerself into” He insisted… so I threw my arms over his shoulders, and went up on my tiptoes to still support most of my own weight. At that, off went dad dragging my piratey self around the area for a few seconds. His wifes head cocked to one side with her jaw hanging open, and his sons eyes nearly lept from their sockets. After Dad proved himself in the eyes of his family, I hopped off, thanked him for the ride, and insisted he take the coin. He refused with a laugh. I then gave his son one of the glass dragons tears I carry in my pouch, and excused myself from their company. As I sauntered away trying not to bust out laughing I heard the father exclaim to his family: “I GOT TO GIVE A PIRATE A PIGGY BACK RIDE!!! HOW COOL IS THAT!!!!!!!!”

Not much else could have topped that reaction.

Nothing, including the threat of a tornado could dampen my spirits the rest of the weekend.

Ahhh what a great time…

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6 thoughts on “Port Washington Pirate Festival Highlights

  1. WHY AREN’T YOU IN STREET CAST?!?!?!?!?!

    This is precisely the kind of craziness we spend 5 weeks training our newbies for and you just jumped in for a full weekend and did it! That’s fantastic! You know, it may not be too late to set up an audition and join us for the Feaste of Fooles. You know you’re going to be at Bristol every weekend anyhow. C’mon, you know you want to. Go ahead. Join the Dark Side of the Force. Hang out with the cool kids. JOIN STREET!

  2. John, seriously, man, Street is your destiny, and you should embrace it. Julie and Carl and I are going to Sit Directly On Top Of You until you relent and accept your fate, which is to become a street character at Bristol and other venues all over the place — you have confidence, comfort with the audience, approachability, identifiability, and many other desirable qualities for street performance. Contact me if you’d like to audit any rehearsal workshops — everyone in Street knows and respects and digs you, and if they don’t know you yet, they’ll admire you right away.

  3. That’s bloody hilarious.
    I thought my story about a visit to our local renfest was made of win (Capt. Jack Sparrow told a kid to eat the food in front of him or be thrown to the Kraken), but yours is way more win than mine. ~~~)@

  4. Hey, I’ve been telling you to join them for years. I can say it now, “see I’ll told ya”. Glad to hear you are enjoying life. Next time you are in the sunshine state stop by and see us!! šŸ™‚ Love ya!

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