Saturday, May 25, 2013
A pirate party sounds fun, doesn't it?
The pirate ship S.V. Must Roos approaches the village of Damariscotta in an earlier Pirate Invasion.
DAMARISCOTTA RIVER PIRATE RENDEZVOUS
WHEN: 10 a.m. through 4 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: 40 Main St., Damariscotta is the Pirate Bazaar and center of event, but activities will take place all around the downtowns in both Damariscotta and Newcastle.
HOW MUCH: Free admission. Fees charged for some games and for food.
INFO: 380-9912; PirateRendezvous.com
Kids can dress up with eye patches and wave plastic swords and say "Arrrgh!" a lot.
A nice little time will be had by all, right?
Maybe, but the organizers of the Damariscotta River Pirate Rendezvous do not settle for a nice little time.
Their pirate bash, now in its fifth year, is a fully loaded frontal attack on the senses, complete with an armed 57-foot pirate ship, and a brigade of pirates bearing actual swords and flintlock firearms.
"It starts with the S.V. Must Roos coming up the river and firing cannon at the town. Then the pirates come ashore, and there will be sword fights, people firing flintlock pistols and the townsfolk making a last stand," said Greg Latimer, a founder of the event and a pirate re-enactor. "We rob Damariscotta Bank and Trust and the police come along. Eventually the pirates and townspeople get along, and we all look for treasure all over town."
The Pirate Rendezvous is part family festival, part historic re-enactment, and 100 percent different.
One of the things that makes it different from your average themed festival is the 100 or more skilled pirate re-enactors from all over New England, and their working equipment.
To be a pirate re-enactor, Latimer says, one has to be trained. Some are trained in sailing, some are trained in the use of "black-powder firearms" or artillery or the use of "edged weapons" like swords.
So if you go to the Pirate Rendezvous, know that the pirates engaged in sword fights or firing pistols have done this before. Many times.
And while the cannon will be actually blasting away toward the town, no cannonballs will fly. The cannon have powder but no projectiles.
The family fun part starts with the hundreds of kids who show up in costume and are welcomed to join the invasion once the pirates reach town. At about noon, two ships full of pirate re-enactors attack and chaos ensues.
Where does one get a pirate vessel these days? Well the command vessel, the S.V. Must Roos, was built by a re-enactor out of the Midcoast area. Talk about being committed to one's hobby.
After the invasion would be a good time to take advantage of events all over Damariscotta and neighboring Newcastle. There will be a kid's Pirate Camp with games and activities located at Water and Main Streets in Damariscotta. After the invasion, children will join the pirate crew to search for the Lost Treasure of the Mystic Pirates hidden somewhere in the town. Clues will be apparent.
There will also be food, vendors and other activities.
And if you want to dress up, don't worry about being too exact. As a group, the pirates invading on Saturday are known as Mystic Pirates of the Damariscotta and one of their mottoes, Latimer says, is "We are neither politically nor historically correct."
The event started as a way to kick off the summer in the Damariscotta area, and it's also a fundraiser for Lincoln County Family Holiday Wishes, which helps folks in need.
And though there are accounts of real pirates in the early 1700s sailing up the Maine coast, the real draw of the event seems to be the ever-growing fascination with the idea and mystique of pirates.
Latimer thinks it's similar to people's fascination with the American cowboy.
"You have rugged individualists who lived by their own rules and own ethics and maybe had a freedom to do things we can't do," said Latimer.
Yes, but if you go to a cowboy festival there probably won't be ships or cannon or swordplay.
And you definitely won't be encouraged to yell "Arrrgh!"
Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: