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Pirates Still Running Wild in Grand Cayman

Jun 26, 2008
Though the pirates found in Hollywood features might be things of the past, there is a Caribbean island that is keeping the more entertaining aspects this unique culture alive. For the last 30 years, Grand Cayman and her sister islands have hosted an entire week of pirate-related festivities during the month of November. Highlighted by street parties and heritage festivals, Cayman Pirate Week is one of the island's most popular events and a can't-miss experience for visiting families. This year, the pirates arrive in Grand Cayman on November 8 and disembark on November 15.

The festivities of Cayman Pirate Week begin with the arrival of the pirates aboard replica 17th century Spanish galleons. To the amusement of locals and tourists alike, the pirates playfully capture Grand Cayman's governor at the docks of Georgetown. With the Grand Cayman's leader symbolically locked up for the week, the pirates proceed to take over the island and spread their merriment from coast to coast. The pirate landing party will take place this year on Saturday, November 8. The festivities get underway at 2 PM with live beach entertainment at Hog Sty Bay, located near the main harbor of Georgetown. The pirates make their entrance in Georgetown at 3 PM and parade through the city to the delight of local and visiting families. The festival's opening Saturday is capped off with a dazzling fireworks display and an exciting food and dance festival that has been known to spread through the streets of Georgetown.

The following day, families will have a chance to interact with the pirates at the festival's Children's Fun Fair Day. From 12 PM to 4 PM, families can enjoy the friendly street fair atmosphere and have a chance to don pirate costumes, fool around with the performers and play games worthy of the high seas. Also on Sunday, families can participate in the Underwater Treasure Hunt in Grand Cayman's West Bay. Hosted by local dive shops, the Underwater Treasure Hunt offers families a great opportunity to add the thrill of sunken treasure to a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion.

From Monday to Saturday (November 10-15), visitors can participate in a number of heritage celebrations throughout Grand Cayman. The excitement starts in the West Bay area of Grand Cayman on Monday. From 11 AM to 2 AM, the pirates will treat the crowds to live music, delicious Caribbean food and plenty of contests and games. On Tuesday, the party moves to the North Side of the island where visitors will have a chance to enjoy incredible scenery while partying with the pirates. The charming village known as Bodden Town is the host of Wednesday's festivities, while Thursday sees the party return to the capital of Georgetown. At the close of the week, the heritage celebrations visit Grand Cayman's East End on Friday and the Savannah and Newlands areas on Saturday, allowing visitors to experience some of the island's lesser-known sites.

At the end of Pirate Week in Grand Cayman, locals and visitors can enjoy the lighthearted fun of the Cardboard Boat Race. Afterwards, the pirates are brought to trial as the crowds gather to see these "criminals" of the high seas banished from the island. Once order is restored and the governor is released from his cell, an immense fireworks display marks the beginning of yet another street festival. Known as the Street Dance Finale, the closing party moves up and down Harbour Drive in Georgetown until midnight on Saturday, November 15.

Throughout the week, visitors can find booths for food and drinks throughout Georgetown, while many of the local shops join the fun by offering costumes and special souvenirs. Even better for families, getting around Georgetown during the festival is a breeze and nearly all of the Cayman Pirate Week events are free.

If you and your family want to enjoy one of the most entertaining elements of Caribbean history, Grand Cayman is the place to be. As host to the only Pirate Week festival in the region, Grand Cayman offers visitors a chance to experience both an island where pirates once ran wild and characters that few get to see outside of the movies.
About the Author
Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Grand Cayman for the Marriott Resorts.
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