Changes approved for Pirates Week in its 40th iteration this year may be a “one time only” experiment, according to the head of the Cayman Islands Tourism Attraction Board.

Board Chairwoman Carla Reid said shortening the event from about 10 days to five this November, and consolidating Heritage Days into a one-day event in George Town, are subject to change if they do not work out as the board hopes.

“We’re going to see if this works,” Mrs. Reid said. “If the districts and the committee decide it’s a keeper, then we’ll go from there.”

There has been significant social media backlash since the Pirates Week Committee announced its decision last week to cut back on the number of Heritage Days events this year. In the past, each of Grand Cayman’s five districts had its own Heritage Day, in between Pirates Week events on the opening and closing weekends of the festival.

Residents complained on social media forums like Facebook about “foreign interests taking over and pushing out” cultural activities and asked the committee to “reevaluate its views.”

Ms. Reid said the board and the Pirates Week Committee consulted with most of the districts’ Heritage Day committees before making the decision, and those groups had indicated they were receptive to the change.

She said the board hopes to boost attendance at the combined downtown Heritage Day event on Nov. 13, which falls on a holiday, with a number of cruise ships scheduled to be in George Town harbor.

“The districts understood that this is an opportunity to do something a little bit different,” Ms. Reid said. “People are crying out for a little change [in Pirates Week] while maintaining the things that they love like the float parade and the fireworks.

“We’re trying to breathe a little bit of life into it and see what we can do.”

The new schedule means that all of the major Pirates Week events will be held between Thursday, Nov. 9 and Monday, Nov. 13.

The popular cardboard boat races are set to start at 11 a.m. in Hog Sty Bay and end around 2 p.m., about an hour before the pirates landing and float parade at 3 p.m.

The “Trial of the Pirates” – the traditional end of the festival – will take place around 7 p.m. Monday, after the Heritage Days event in George Town.

Friday, Saturday and Monday nights feature various street dances.

A number of other events, including a swim meet, a 5K sea swim, the Pirate Pooch Parade, two Harbour Drive fireworks displays and the children’s fun day on Sunday, will be packed into a tight Friday-Monday schedule.

The start of the festival on Thursday, Nov. 9, will feature a Pirates Week happy hour, steel pan competition and a kick-off party downtown from 9 p.m. that night until 2 a.m. Friday.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I think it is a great idea to have the five day change for Pirates week activities. My reasons are that I used to be a part of the activities for twenty years, but since some five or more years ago decided that a change should come because people in the districts showed very little interest, and di not come out as before. Take for instance Bodden Town. Since the past five years it has been going down hill, and I have heard similar talks from other districts. People have lost all interest in the district activities.
    My thoughts are that the five day event in George Town would do well. I would suggest closing off Cardinal avenue from motor vehicles. Then along the whole stretch each district would have a space from beginning to end; whereby stalls of food arts crafts , music and the list go on for activities. Each district doing their own thing with music food and entertainment. Tourist would have the opportunity to move from one district to the other on Cardinal Avenue, enjoying food, buying arts crafts and listening to the music . It would be BIG. and outer districts would get the opportunity to make a few dollars. Now they are making nothing. Only on a little food which even that don’t sell. The district days is done for. I am sure those who trying to make a decision on this should hear and take some good advice from those who have been there. Close off Cardinal avenue, and keep it closed for pedestrians only. Then after Pirates week is over still keep it closed, and use the road for out door cafe’s open from morning until ten pm at night., whereby visitors tourist and locals could sit under café umbrellas and enjoy some fast food, hot dogs hamburgers conch soup, conch fitters and so on. Depends on who catering, maybe even dinner, and good local music. The fun and entertainment will be enjoyed by both tourists, visitors and locals. See how they do it in new Orleans streets, well do the same on Cardinal Avenue.

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