Pirates Ahoy!

After a successful celebration in Cayman Brac, the buccaneers turn their sights on Grand Cayman for a full weekend of revelry and music.

Swarms of pirates landed on the shores of Cayman Brac last weekend, with pirate crews Las Tortugas and Bloody Bay Buccaneers bringing three days of swashbuckling fun to Brackers from South Side to North East Bay.

Next stop, Grand Cayman.

The Pirates Week national festival attracts around 35,000 revellers each year, to over 40 different events over the three islands and this year celebrates its 42nd instalment with the theme ‘Shipwrecked’.

“We are pleased to once again offer an abundance of true Caymanian hospitality as we welcome visitors to our islands for the 42nd Cayman Islands National Festival, Pirates Week,” said Pirates Week general manager, Melanie McField.

“[We offer a] combination of the beauty of our islands, the Caymankind of our people, traditional food, spectacular fireworks, two parades full of colour, and the pageantry which characterises Pirates Week as one of the most unique festivals in the world. I hope what you experience during this year’s festival will create memories for years to come.”

Festivities in Grand Cayman began on Thursday with the official Kick-off Party taking place at Royal Palms Beach Club.

Friday will see a 5K run, food festival and opening firework display which always delivers a spectacular show. Tribal Carnival Cayman will also be launching its 2020 costumes on Harbour Drive following the fireworks. An SOS Sounds of Soca street dance will feature local musicians such as Stuart Wilson, Erica Assai and Tha Dude Feev; local DJs Silver Fox and DJ Cardiac; and international Soca artists including ‘Queen of Bacchanal’ Destra Garcia and ‘Queen of Soca’ Alison Hinds.

On Saturday, a 5K sea swim, Pirate Pooch Parade, and the ever-popular Cardboard Regatta precede the day’s highlight – the Landing Pageant and Float Parade. Thousands will line the streets of George Town to witness pirates land at Hog Sty Bay before they take the governor captive and maraud through the streets. Hungry buccaneers can stop at the extensive food festival, tucked away in the RBC and Kirk Freeport parking lots on Shedden Road. Saturday evening brings with it a National Song competition as well as the second instalment of the SOS Sounds of Soca street dances featuring artists such as Cotterell, Sound Revolution and Nessa Preppy.

On Sunday, attendees can choose from a smorgasbord of activities including a beach clean-up, turtle release, children’s fun day, underwater treasure hunt and the Wet Fete.
Monday is the Remembrance Day public holiday. In the afternoon, the Culture Shop Street Fair will take over George Town. The Junior National Culinary Association hosts a snapper cook-off on Harbour Drive, while live entertainment including Swanky Kitchen Band and cultural displays take place nearby. The District Heritage Ambassador Costume Competition, which showcases Caymanian culture through costume designs, is followed by the Trial of the Pyrates and an Illumination Night Parade before the closing fireworks take place at 8pm.

District Days
District Days run from 12-16 November, and provide venues where local art, food, music and entertainment can be enjoyed. Attendees can expect traditional sights such as silver thatch weaving, fish fries, catboats, peppermint candy making and performances from local bands such as Swanky Kitchen Band as well as firework displays in each district.

East End
Tuesday, 12 Nov., 11am-12am
East End Heritage Field

West Bay
Wednesday, 13 Nov., 11am-10pm
West Bay Heritage Village

Bodden Town
Friday, 15 Nov., 11am-10pm
Nurse Josie Park, Gun Square

George Town
Saturday, 16 Nov., 11am-11pm
Cardinall Avenue

“We encourage our people and visitors alike to venture out to the districts, to partake of traditional Caymanian dishes such as turtle and conch stew, stewed whelks, rundown and cassava cake – a cake that is sure to be the delight of the Pirates Week District Heritage Day culinary experience,” said McField.

“The upcoming week of heritage displays also offer up information and historical accounts of how the Caymanian people lived and survived as a country deemed the ‘Islands Time Forgot’ in the 1940s.”

For the full Pirates Week schedule, including event times and locations, visit www.piratesweekfestival.com. Little Cayman’s celebration will follow from 15-17 Nov.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now