The activities were endless and the crowds were bountiful and buoyant as Pirates Week 2009 kicked off with happy hours at Breezes by the Bay and Hard Rock Cafe, a launch party at the Wharf and fireworks in downtown George Town.
Inspiring some competitive spirit, Friday evening also saw pirates take the stage to vie for the title of ‘best dressed’ in the pirate costume contest, which was followed by the ever-popular Miss Festival Queen competition, in which contestants awed crowds with their creations.
In the pirate costume contest Herman Moraes won first place in the Tiny Tots category, with Rayah Stewart taking second. Kalie Broderick took first place in the Juniors category with Mikayla Karapelou coming second, and Caribbean Pearl won first place in the Adults category, with James Karapelou coming second. The lucky winners were able to ride on the Home Gas Winners Recognition Float in the float parade on Saturday and first place winners received $100 (second place received $50).
In the Miss Festival Queen competition, Avril Myers won with her costume, Cayman’s National Bird, designed by Monique Burton. Kayla Archibald received first runner-up for her Princess of the Three Isles costume designed by Reba Dilbert and Mahlia Seymour won second runner up for her Princess of the Turtle costume, designed by Trisha Martins.
Sharon Woodman received an award for ‘most imaginative’ for her Cayman Coat of Arms costume which she designed herself. In total, eight ladies competed and the contest was judged by Donna Myrie-Stephen, Luigi Moxam, Vanda Welcome, Gary Dominguez and Diane Welds and Pricewaterhouse Coopers tallied the votes.
After a spectacular fireworks display, during which spectators said they spotted a skull-and-bones shaped firework, the much-anticipated National Song Competition took place, with Thanks and Praises taking top honours. Launching the subsequent street dance and food festival was the visiting musical act Bajan Invasion, who helped the crowds dance the night away.
The pace revved up even more for Saturday’s events, featuring pre-landing entertainment by Vivendi Cabaret and the popular capturing of the ‘Governor’ once pirates had landed, making the journey ashore from the Jolly Roger ship.
Once the pirates were firmly in charge, the float parade began, featuring 24 floats, with eight entering the competition.
The floats were judged by Junilee Brooks, Clint Hunter, Effie Johnson and Marva Scott, and Pricewaterhouse Coopers verified the numbers.
The overall winner was East End’s district heritage float, in first place, with Magic Drums from the Panoramers steel band coming in second. North Side rounded out the top three with their traditional heritage float.
In the district competition, East End once again took top honours, with North Side earning a silver in second place and West Bay coming in third. For youth and schools’ large floats category, Magic Drums – Panoramers Steel Band took first place and Pandemix followed up shortly with second.
In the small float category, St. Ignatius Catholic School won first place while Black Pearl Skate and Surf Park’s float took first place in the general category with its always-impressive ‘half pipe on wheels’.
Teens enjoyed the fun at the safe and enjoyable Teen Up disco on Saturday night at the Cayman Craft Market, which coincided with the adult street dance, featuring live entertainment from bands such as local act Bona Fide, who enjoyed a second place win in the National Song Competition, and the Fab 5, who flew in from Barbados to entertain the crowds.
Sports events were ongoing throughout the weekend, with the Pirates Week 5K run on Friday and, for those who wanted to get physical in less competitive environment, the underwater treasure hunt at Divetech on Sunday afternoon in West Bay. The fitness kick continues this week with swimmers getting in the mix at the Mike Lockwood Memorial International Swim Meet at the Lions Pool. The week finishes up with a 10K run and a Mickey Mouse darts tournament this weekend at Corner Pocket.
Heritage days, which have been ongoing all week, continue with George Town Heritage Day today, Friday, 20 November, on Cardinall Avenue. The day will close out with an exciting steel band competition, also on Cardinall Avenue. Savannah/Newlands will finish the heritage days in style tomorrow from 11am to 6pm at Heritage Field.
Tomorrow – Saturday, 21 November – will see the return of many residents’ favourite part of the festival with the cardboard boat race at 4pm. The evening will see the hopeful end of the pirates’ reign with the Trial of the Pirates at 7.30pm followed by fireworks and a closing street dance and Teen Up disco. The sister islands will enjoy the pirate theme for a little longer as they celebrate their weekend, from the 27 to 28 November.
‘We feel truly blessed – the weather has been great,’ Pirates Week Director Casandra Hibbert said. ‘We have received positive feedback and compliments on last weekend’s activities. Thanks to all of our supporters, volunteers, and sponsors who have made this celebration a success.’