EDITORIAL – Pirates Week: Yo ho ho. Ready set go …

Ahoy readers! Steel yourselves for fireworks, food, music and – yar – an invasion of buccaneers and scurvy scallywags from near and abroad. Pirates Week, the national festival of the Cayman Islands, is upon us.

It’s time to cut loose (brandishing cutlasses or wearing cutoffs) and celebrate our country’s history, culture and legends.

(Make sure to peruse today’s Weekender, which is full of details about the annual festival.)

This year’s Pirates Week kicks off today on Cayman Brac with an afternoon happy hour and dance. It continues over the weekend with a Brac Heritage Day celebration, fireworks and bonfire before wrapping up on Monday with the traditional farewell lunch.

Meanwhile, on Grand Cayman, the series of Heritage Days returns to the districts after last year’s experiment with hosting a combined event. Today, the traditional food and family fun is in East End. Next is West Bay on Monday, followed by North Side, Bodden Town and George Town.

One reason that organizers experimented with last year’s condensed event was low attendance at the previous Heritage Days, so anyone who prefers the multi-day format should show their support by showing up in the various districts.

On Wednesday, the Pirates Week schedule heats up and runs apace in Grand Cayman until the Remembrance Day holiday on Nov. 12. So, when you are out and about town, be prepared to mingle with hosts of residents and tourists attired in traditional pirate garb or Hollywood-inspired corsair costumery.

Everyone has their own approach to Pirates Week and their list of “must-do” favorites. This year’s lineup has them all.

The array of events includes: the Pirates Week happy hour, Pirates Landing Pageant, several parades, a national song competition, culture jam, beach clean-up, cardboard boat regatta, a 5K and 10K walk/run, a sea swim, street dances for teens and adults, a children’s fun day at Pedro St. James, an underwater treasure hunt, tons of food, batteries of fireworks and, of course, the traditional “Trial of the Pirates.”

On Friday, Nov. 16, the Pirates Week Festival will migrate to Little Cayman for three final days of revelry before the annual celebrations officially come to a close – heralding the unofficial beginning of the busy winter tourist season.

Pirates Week was originally envisioned as a way to boost tourism during a historically slow time of year, but over the past decades it has evolved into one of Cayman’s signature events. Like our islands, Pirates Week includes a bit of everything and is welcoming to everyone with good cheer and a sense of adventure.

So, whether you are an inveterate landlubber, a wannabe buccaneer or an old salt, Pirates Week is an opportunity to relax, revel and re-live the romanticized version of Cayman’s piratical past.