Pirates Week fundraisers already brewin’

The Pirates Week Festival starts Nov. 6 this year, but that doesn’t mean you have to batten down the hatches until then.  

The first of many fundraising events leading up to Pirates Week, “Music for your Palate,” takes place at the Arts and Recreatio Centre at Camana Bay on Saturday, showcasing an eclectic mix of live music, fine wine and culinary delights. Proceeds will help pay for two of the festival’s main family events – the fireworks and Family Fun Day.  

Organizers of the event promise a “melting pot” of flavors representing the cuisines of Europe, Asia, North and South America and the Caribbean, all prepared by Mise en Place. A selection of fine wines will also be on hand during the Bubbles reception, compliments of Concha y Toro. According to Melanie McField, executive director of the Pirates Week Festival, the melting pot theme is a fitting one, as there are people representing more than 140 nationalities living in Cayman.  

Live musical performances by local musicians will be in keeping with the melting pot theme, as genres will include steel pan, country, classic, opera, retro pop, modern pop, R&B, acoustic, classic reggae and jazz. Among the bands and musicians are Michael Lemay, Gone Country, Rico Rolando, The Safeword, Suite Elite, and Hi Tide.  

“Pirates Week is a big fan of local talent and we try our best to include local bands for our fundraising efforts, as well as the main festival celebrations downtown and the district days,” says McField. 

As anyone who has watched the fireworks on the opening and closing nights of the festival can attest, they are nothing short of spectacular. However, they come with a price tag to match. “We are hoping to raise money so that fireworks can be reinstated for the district days and for the first Friday and last Saturday of the main festival,” McField says. “For both weekends plus the district days, the cost for the fireworks would be in excess of $50,000.” 

Pirates Week’s Family Fun Day, in its 20th year, is notable for bringing people together.  

“Everyone gets involved, and it shows the strength of community in Cayman,” says McField. “This event attracts over 700 children who all get a goodie bag, a balloon, and a raffle ticket to win one of five bicycles. This is a very popular aspect of a warm and friendly day out.”  

Volunteers from organizations such as the Leo Club of Grand Cayman and the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, among others, will be on hand to provide snow cones, hot dogs, hamburgers, juices and other tasty treats. McField says there will be lots of activities during the day, including a painting competition, fancy dress competition, beautiful baby competition, bouncy castles and face painting.  

Family Fun Day also includes an awards segment for a children’s artwork competition and children’s poetry competition from schools throughout the islands.  

Of course, what would Pirates Week be without the pirates? “There are the Texas Pirates, the Seattle Seafair Pirates, Blackbeard and his first mate, DeeGee, the amazing Johnny Depp look-alike, not to mention Tommy Petrie, the Unicycler Juggler,” she says. “With a growing number of participants, we are hoping to get more sponsors this year and make it an even bigger event for the children.”

Tickets can be purchased at the Pirates Week office, the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, the West Indies Wine Company, Books and Books, and Funky Tangs. Ticket prices are $55 pre-paid or $65 at the gate. Corporate prices are also available. The Bubbles reception is from 7 to 8 p.m., with live entertainment and global cuisine from 8 p.m. to midnight; there will also be a cash bar. For more information, contact the Pirates Week Office at 949-5078 or email [email protected] 


A child frolics in confetti during ‘Family Fun Day’ at the annual Pirates Week Festival. – Photo: Chris Court

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