Not even 24 hours after the original "postponement" email was sent out from SIK Promotions, the St. Petersburg-based production company coordinating the event, putting off the Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival "until future date to be determined," the island community gathered together and commandeered the festival on their own accord.
"We've told SIK Promotions to walk the plank, and we're taking this pirate festival over once again," said Stephen DeAngelis, one of the coordinators of the newly rescheduled pirate festival. "This event almost sank because of the production company, but thanks to the Bay Walk merchants, the Times Square Alliance and the Town of Fort Myers Beach, we'll be able to salvage this wonderful island event."
Stephen said the Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival will take place Friday evening, Oct. 5 to all day Saturday, Oct. 6.
Here is the schedule, thus far:
Friday, Oct. 5: Pieces of Eight Adult Pirate Cruise will depart Salty Sam's Marina around 7 p.m. and head to Nervous Nellie's, where the annual Pirate's Ball will kick off the festival, from 8 to 11 p.m. Once the ball has concluded, pirates may then take the Pieces of Eight Pirate Ship back to its home port at Salty Sam's.
Saturday, Oct. 6: Pirates may peruse the area of Old San Carlos Boulevard at Bay Walk throughout the day, between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., enjoying many special events and vendors set up offering the best baubles and trinkets around.
A kid's fishing tournament will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. that afternoon. Kids should bring their gear if they have it, but if not, poles will be provided, courtesy of the Yucatan Beach Stand and Smokin' Oyster Brewery. Bait has been donated, courtesy of Pete's Time Out. Parental supervision is required.
Upon the conclusion of the kid's fishing tournament, the Pieces of Eight Pirate Ship will ignite the crowd with an intense black powder battle demonstration.
All restaurants will be open. Anyone dressed as a pirate may enjoy extra-special specials and offerings that day. Stephen said John Richard of Shipwreck Treasures will be giving little pirate children gold pirate coins, and the Pieces of Eight pirate crew will be offering face-painting for the kids.
If interested in joining the planning committee, a Pirate Festival meeting will be held Friday, Sept. 28, at 9 a.m., at the Yucatan Beach Stand, 250 Old San Carlos Blvd., Fort Myers Beach.
"We're really hoping to turn this festival back over to our local community of Fort Myers Beach, perhaps back with our Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of Commerce," Stephen said. "We want to keep this as a local event."
Stephen asked that any vendors who had originally paid SIK Promotions to reserve their spot for the festival, please call him, 822-1369.
Some vendor spots may still be available, but not too many.
Stay tuned to the Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer, and FortMyersBeachTalk.com for instant, up-to-date details, as they come in.
--------ORIGINAL BREAKING NEWS STORY OF THE POSTPONEMENT, published Sept. 25, 7:30 p.m.:---------
According to local sources and an email sent out from SIK Promotions, Inc., the lead coordinator of the upcoming Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival, this year's swash-buckling island event has been postponed until further notice.
According to the email that was sent out from Suzanne King of SIK Promotions, Inc., based out of St. Petersburg:
"Due to circumstances beyond our control, the 7th Annual Fort Myers Beach Pirate Fest will be postponed until (date to be determined) visit www.fortmyersbeachpiratefest.com for updated information when it becomes available.
"Every event has its obstacles, some more than others. The obstacles encountered by this pirate fest over the past few years have been quite challenging to say the least. We have endured each and every one of them and have produced the most successful pirate festival the area has ever seen. The pirate fest has brought substantial revenue to Fort Myers Beach businesses each year and put smiles on the faces of many of the area's residents and visitors.
"This year, due to obstacles both new and old, we feel it is in the best interest of all parties, both those investing their time and money and those paying patronage; that we postpone the event to ensure that we are able to provide the best show possible to our sponsors, vendors and patrons.
"VENDOR FEES: If your checks have already been cashed, your full refund will be mailed out by Friday, September 28th. If your checks have not yet been cashed, please void these items from your register as these items have been voided and destroyed.
"We apologize for any inconveniences, but we firmly believe that something worth doing is something worth doing right.
"The Fort Myers Beach Pirate Fest
"SIK Promotions Inc. and Pirates of the Treasure Coast"
Locals hope the word "postponed" will not come to mean "canceled."
"It's very disappointing," said Stephen DeAngelis, assistant co-manager of Nervous Nellie's Crazy Waterfront Eatery, one of the Bay Walk locations that's a regular stop during the annual pirate festivals, as well as the usual host of the Pirate Balls, always the kick-off party to the festival. "This is a big event that really helps our local community, and it's sad that it has been postponed."