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Pirate Fest Docks This Weekend

Over the years, pirates have received some great PR. Theme park rides, films, and popular Halloween costumes have kept pirate lore secure in our imagination. This includes the appeal of actually being a pirate. Not so much with the pillaging and murdering, but more with the drinking and fancy dress.

Luckily, Pirate Fest is perfect for any swashbuckling wannabe. Taking place at Craig Ranch Regional Park, which will soon become a sea of cosplaying buccaneers and the like, Pirate Fest is not like the average renaissance fair. You aren’t limited to being a pirate at Pirate Fest. Around one corner may be a mermaid or faerie. Around another, a Steampunk gentleman. Entertainers will range from modern-day pirate musicians to, well, less milieu-faithful performers.

“I love performing at Pirate Fest,” says Audrey Radef, a belly dancer in the Atistam Vala troupe. “Everybody dresses up, everybody has a great time, and it’s just a really fun environment. We also have a drunk pirate juggler that everyone should see.”

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Still, even with the drunk pirate jugglers — not to mention beer and rum available — Pirate Fest is family friendly. Upon entering, a family will receive a treasure map showing the locations of shows, vendors, bathrooms, and pirate tasks. This particular Pirate Fest has some new attractions, including Hobbit Village and weddings. Because if you don’t get married with an eyepatch and sword, are you really getting married? Mention it to your fiancé and possibly get into an arrr-gument (the festival also provides many opportunities for unnecessary pirate puns).

Pirate Fest takes place at April 27-28. Single-day entry is $15 for pirates 12 and older, $10 for children, with those under 4 free. Two-day wristbands are $25 and $15. More information about the event, including info on how to dress like a pirate, can be found at