The long wait is over, chaps: Pirates Week is here. Leading the charge of the family-friendly fun national festival, presented by SaxonMG, is the paradise island of Little Cayman.
On Friday, 2 November the Hungry Iguana hosts the kickoff dance with music from Heat and performances by Xcitement Dancers. Saturday, 3 November sees the famous Float Parade starting at Head O’Bay from 3pm. As ever there will be prizes for the top three best floats plus the kids’ division. Other things to win include best dressed pirate, wench and child pirates, both male and female.
Little Cayman’s ingenuity with dressing the floats really is something to behold, says Bernie Bush of the Pirates Week committee.
“I admire them for the way they make their floats, what they put into it is really and truly home made. They use things that wash up on the beach and have moving parts,” he explains.
The Xcitement Dancers will be performing after the parade.
The parade ends at the Hungry Iguana parking lot where judging will take place. Fireworks light up the sky at 8pm and the dance at the Hungry Iguana again features Heat, Xcitement Dancers and loads of contests, prizes and giveaways.
Meanwhile, on Grand Cayman
Things start to kick in on Grand Cayman at 5.30pm on Thursday, 8 November with the Pre-Pirates Week Happy Hour at Breezes by the Bay. Drink specials and pirate attire await! The Westin also has a special Pirates Week Sand Off Caribbean Buffet with music, drinks and fun from 7pm to 9pm.
Then there’s the always-popular Pre-Pirates Week Kick-Off Party at The Wharf, which features a live band, visiting pirates, excitement, camaraderie and loads of fun. It’s truly one of the pillar previews of the festival.
At 7pm on Harbour Drive, the Caribbean Utilities Company-sponsored Steel Pan Competition takes place. This showcase of Cayman’s talented players, tutored by Michael Lemay or Earl La Pierre, really is coming on leaps and bounds as the instrument continues to show how Cayman’s skilful youngsters (and older players) are embracing its possibilities.
“It is one of the biggest draws of Pirates Week,” Earl says. “There will be bleachers, people sitting down and partying whilst the bands are playing. The competition is a whole big festival.”
There will be bands in primary, juniors and senior sections plus a guest band, he explains, for the 3,000 and more people who come to watch. For the visitor who has never seen the standard of these players, Earl reckons this is a great opportunity to see some excellent acts and some tough competition too.
“Everyone wants to be the best; a champion in each category,” Earl says. “It is like a Super Bowl with that excitement, lots of colours, flags and action. People are going to represent! We are all looking forward to it – the kids have been rehearsing for months.” Indeed, some of the talented Cayman players went up to the famous Toronto Caribana festival to compete earlier this year, testament to the talent on island.
“There are players here who could play in any band in the world,” he says. “They can represent pan itself and represent their country in any part of the world. The standard has improved tremendously.
“It is good for the talent, the culture and the pan moving on not standing still. We have invited government Ministers to come and hear what these kids are doing. It is time for a National Steel Band where all the schools are represented – we need it. This is the time for it!”
The culture and magnificence of ingenuity that has brought the Cayman Islands through the ages is never more eloquently shown than during the wonderful Festival Queen competition, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture.
Held on Harbour Drive at 6pm on Friday, 9 November the competition is open to Caymanians aged 12 and up.
Each district of Cayman has held its own pre-qualifying competition and selected their representative, which makes for friendly contest and a great vibe on the night.
This is no beauty pageant or ‘Cayman’s Next Top Model’ type contest. but rather a celebration of the beauty of costumes and culture of Cayman. Simply put, the theme of Historical Shipwrecks and Cayman’s Treasures will be interpreted by the queen of each district. They will parade in front of the judges in their family-friendly attire whilst the supporters cheer them on.
SaxonMG is once again the Title Sponsor for Pirates Week. We are very happy to be a part of the event supporting the Cayman Islands’ largest and longest running festival in Caymanian history which draws more than 30,000 visitors annually – one of Caribbean’s biggest treasures for all the family.
“We are excited to be part of such an amazing event that both promotes Cayman Islands tourism and brings the community together via heritage days celebrating the many traditions of our distinct neighbourhoods,” says Brian Williams of the company.
On Saturday 3 November, the x107.1 crew will be live at Cost-U-Less from 1 to 4pm.
Cayman 27: Cayman 27 will be broadcasting live from one of the most popular festival events, the Pirates Landing Pageant on Saturday, 10 November from 3pm. Feel like you are in the middle of the action from the comfort of your couch as the pirates invade, descending upon George Town and capturing the governor.
CITN, Cayman 27, a proud sponsor of Cayman’s National Festival.
Radio Cayman: Radio Cayman proudly airs live commentary on the Steel Band Competition, Pirates Landing Festivities, Heritage Days and the float parade, which follows the landing. Our remote broadcast crew looks forward to the Pirates Landing, which is a time when young and old indulge in the mythical. Radio Cayman paints an oral picture of the event.
Cayman Airways: As a founding sponsor, Cayman Airways Limited is proud to once again be the “Official Airline” of Cayman’s national festival, Pirates Week, which is the only festival of its kind in the Caribbean and Latin America. As the national flag carrier of the Cayman Islands, it is our honour to join our local community in celebrating all things Caymanian each year.
Other gold sponsors: Caymanian Compass, Cayman Islands Department of Tourism
Breezes by the Bay: There is no better place to watch the festival fun than from Breezes By The Bay balcony, a proud sponsorship of the Pirates Week Festival. See the steel band competition, fireworks, landing pageant, float parade and much more from the best spot in George Town.
CUC: The festival has brought members of the Cayman community together to have good fun and to enjoy the best of the districts. CUC is proud to be active in the community and strives to be an exemplarily corporate citizen.
The Wharf: Check out the magic of the pre-Pirates Week Kick Off Party for plenty of fun, happiness and lively pirates to whet the appetite. The Wharf is a long time supporter of Pirates Week and a vital early visit.
Ministry of Health, Environment, Sports & Culture: The ministry believes people should always be at the centre of its endeavours and creates social and physical environments in which people can be healthy, lead quality lives and feel a strong sense of who they are and what they can achieve.
Other event sponsors: Davenport Development; Camana Bay; The Westin; Divetech; Margaritaville; Progressive Distributors; Turtle Farm; Foster’s Food Fair; Ribena; Build Cayman Ltd; Caybrew; Digicel; Just Sea Foods; KRyS Global; Budweiser