Yar! This word could possibly be pirate’s language (as in “Yar, me matey!”), Or it could just be a shorthand for the town of Yarmouth, which is the location of the first Cape Cod Pirate Festival.
The event will be held all day at Skull Island Adventure Golf in South Yarmouth, under the watchful eye of the attraction’s giant skull and on Route 28, which could be considered the region’s ‘pirate mile’. There is also a miniature pirate-themed golf course. and the nearby Whydah Pirate Museum.
Producer Chris Edwards describes the festival as an “environmental theater”.
“You are going to (go) into this world where the environment around you IS the event.” You are part of the two-day outdoor experience, he says, comparing it to the immersive atmosphere of a Renaissance festival such as King Richard’s Faire in Carver.
The pirate event will be an interactive experience as well as outdoor entertainment. Visitors can watch a magic show, listen to pirate rock ‘n’ roll or listen to marine music delivered by the Whydah Washashores, a newly formed group of slum singers made up of familiar local faces, mostly from the theatrical scene of Cape Cod.
According to Edwards, two highlights of the weekend will be themed, with Saturday as “Dress Like a Pirate” day, while Sunday is “Talk Like a Pirate” day. There will be awards for the winners, as well as “spot prizes” handed out, as spies circulate to listen to “the best use of a pirate voice” heard in the crowd during the day. A competition, organized throughout the weekend, will give a permanent name to the pirate village.
There will be entertainment on different stages, with each group giving more than one performance, and schedules posted and available online during the festival.
The tribal fife and drum duo CuDubh will make music; Merlyn Mischief will offer stories and songs about the sea; and the Longshanks, a pair of storytellers on stilts, will mingle with the crowd.
The Rogues Armada Pirate Reenactment Troop will feature family-focused shows, games and contests as a fundraiser / benefit for the Feeding America organization. Citizen Pirates can enjoy the outfits of other buccaneers, or perhaps raise a drink with a few companions at Old Tom’s Tavern. Pirate themed sellers and fortune tellers will sell their wares and fortune in the Pirate Market.
Action-oriented guys can try their hand at knife and ax throwing, or watch members of the Yar Muzzle Minutemen fire cannons and flintlock guns with live black powder demonstrations. Visitors can watch a gripping comedy and sword fighting show served by the lords of adventure.
Or visitors can, as Edwards jokes, just walk around, “grab a beer and wear an eye patch.”
Edwards, who is active on the Cape Town theater scene, was recently artistic director of the Eventide Theater Company in Dennis, where he remains on the board of directors. Having worked extensively in the past with Renaissance fairs, he now hopes to try his hand at full-time as a festival producer, with an emphasis on environmental theater.
“It’s an art form that doesn’t get enough credit,” he says. Participation focuses on improvisation and interaction, unlike the entertainment of just watching a show take place on stage. It’s a kind of “deal” between the audience and the actors, he says. “Once you’re there, you’re a part of it. “
Edwards, who adopted the alter ego of “Buck Kinnear” for the festival, says the pirate theme can suit everyone, from casual walkers to those who want to “get lost in the pirate fantasy.” Its aim is to make the festival a “destination opportunity that people can count on”, as well as to support local businesses.
It has a wealth of creative ideas for possible future events, such as a Dickensian-themed holiday event, a Halloween Sleepy Hollow destination, and a Steampunk-themed festival.
This unique festival model, he says, “gives adults permission to play,” and pirate events provide a special attraction for “adventure, romance, history.”
If you are going to
What: The Cape Cod Pirate Festival
When: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. August 28-29
Or: Skull Island Adventure Golf, 934 Route 28, South Yarmouth
What there is to know: No cooler, canteen or outside food is allowed. Parking is available at the Skull Island parking lot and at the nearby Stop & Shop Plaza.
Admission: $ 10 in advance, $ 15 at the door
Tickets and information: www.capecodpiratefestival.com