Fort Myers Beach will soon become overrun with snivelling, conniving, ale-drinking scalawag pirates and we're going to love every minute of it as the sixth annual Fort Myers Beach Pirate Fest returns to the island Columbus Day weekend, Friday to Sunday, Oct. 7 to 9.
Expect the same great shenanigans as years past, along with wonderful pirate bands, music, parties, contests and so much more.
"The Pirate's Ball will kick off the festival Friday night at Nervous Nellies," said Suzanne King, head of S.I.K. Promotions, the producing company of the pirate event for the second year in a row, along with Pirates of the Treasure Coast. "It's going to be a wonderful time, with admission just $10 and music from 7 to 11 p.m. by an Irish pirate band."
Photo by MELISSA SCHNEIDER.
The ball will also include tasty food and drink specials, sponsored by Capt. Morgan, but no little mateys allowed. This is an adults-only adventure.
Moving into the weekend, the pirate festival will be in full swing, with non-stop hijinks and shenanigans all throughout the day and evening.
Vendors will be stationed along Old San Carlos Blvd. and underneath the Sky Bridge offering the best trinkets, leather and gifts a pirate can buy.
Live mermaids, "something the girls absolutely loved last year," may either perch in the Bay Walk fountain as they did last year, or be more mobile in their 1,000-gallon tank.
Also under the Sky Bridge will be a grand stage for several musical acts to entertain the masses, while remaining dry and cool.
Another big hit that knocked pirates into the park last year is the huge pub crawl one that is just too large to complete in one day.
"This year, we'll have another ongoing pub crawl with about 17 participating bars and pubs," Suzanne said. "It's so large because we want to encourage festival-goers to make a couple days of it. Take your time, stop by each pub and enjoy a drink and some live music, or perhaps some lunch or dinner. Really make a good time of it. Each of the pub crawl ticket stubs have a list of specials and entertainment at each stop, so you can make a fun day out of it."
Tickets for the crawl are $25 each, which includes a drink at each stop, as well as a commemorative leather medallion that's also a cool coaster, and when all stops have been completed, return your stamped pub crawl ticket stub to festival coordinators and receive a commemorative Pirate Festival T-shirt.
"We sold out of tickets the first day of the festival last year," Suzanne pointed out. "So, this year, we've upped the amount of tickets to 200."
Suzanne is sure to point out the Pirate Festival is not just a Bay Walk event. This event is organized to help businesses all along Fort Myers Beach.
"We want to involve the entire beach and their businesses we want you to explore all of Fort Myers Beach. That's why we've planned the pub crawl the way we did. Another fun Pirate Festival event we're planning for the entire beach is some type of treasure hunt."
Sharing the wealth along the island and Fort Myers Beach area, Big Game Bar and Grill will host a Capt. Jack look-a-like contest Saturday afternoon (another adults-only adventure), sponsored by the Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise, and the Caribbean Pearl and Key Estero Shops will host the VIP party Sunday night, both events open to the public.
Other events taking place during the festival include Quest, a treasure-hunting game, children's buried treasure hunts, pirate performances, thousands of pirates and pirate crews from all corners of the globe, and a ship battle The Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise Ship to Shore battle.
Lee County Elections will be on-hand with voting machines. Those who wish to vote on different events of the festival will be awarded with a special festival keepsake.
"It's a great way to really get feedback after the festival," Suzanne said.
As for parking, Suzanne is in the process of working with the Key Estero Shops for use of its parking lot, offering a shuttle to and from the festival throughout the weekend. Utilizing the Lee Tran Trolley route parking lots is also a great idea, as well as car-pooling.
Last year, the Lions Club of Fort Myers Beach were the recipients of the proceeds of the festival. This year, the Fort Myers Beach Little League will accept the festival proceeds.
"They have certain goals to meet every year, and we're hoping to help them meet their goals with the festival," Suzanne said. "We'd also like to have something special for the little-leaguers that come to the event."
With the festival still a month away, volunteers are still welcome to join the festival team for planning and coordination. To help, call local volunteer coordinator Karen at 304-640-8727. For more information on the upcoming Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival, visit FortMyersBeachPirateFest.com.