After a successful first run under new management last year, the Port Washington Pirate Festival will return this first weekend in June to Port's lakefront, with some reliable favorites, as well as some new additions.
The free Festival kicks off on Friday, June 2nd, at 5 p.m. with the Buccaneer Bash in the beer tent, where there will be live music from the Celtic rock band, Hearthfire, from 7-11 p.m. Happy Hour is from 7-9 p.m. Meet and greet pirates, get something to eat at the Gruel Galley from 5-11 p.m., and do some early shopping at the Thieves Marketplace from 5-10 p.m., with a variety of vendors, including: Andrea Jones - author of the Hook & Jill saga, DaSue Dragon, Sea Ratt Pirate Booty, Aurora's Apothecary, and Captain Kut's Pirate Ware, as well as some modern vendors, such as LuLaRoe, Tastefully Simple, and L'Bri.
On Saturday, June 3rd, you can start the day off early with the ever-popular Breakfast with the Pirates at Newport Shores from 8-11:30 a.m. Reservations are suggested, and can be made by calling (262) 284-6838, but walk-ins will be seated as available. Newport Shores and the PW Pirate Festival cannot be responsible for the manners of the pirates, and it is strongly recommended that you do not touch their plates.
The Festival, itself, opens at 10 a.m., with favorite acts such as Cutlass Cooking, Knotty Bits, River Valley Colonial Fife & Drum Corps, Stellamani Caravan, and Pyrates of Portabello. There will be roaming pirates, and a bounce house for the kids, as well as a children's and adult's Costume Contest. The Tall Ship Denis Sullivan will be in the harbor for deck tours and sails, as well.
New to the Festival this year, but not new to Port, is the Cardboard Boat Regatta, which will begin at 2 p.m. on Saturday. This popular event, which was once a part of Port's Maritime Heritage Festival, takes place in the harbor and features boats made from corrugated cardboard, sailing in both youth and adult divisions, with prizes for best design and construction, best theme and costumes, most spectacular sinking, and a people's choice award. Should Saturday get rained out, the Regatta will happen on Sunday.
On Sunday, the Festival opens for the final time at 10 a.m., with a Pirate Invasion on Scoundrel's Mound at 10:30, and a Parade at noon.
The Port Washington Pirate Festival is a fun, family-friendly event. Costumes are encouraged, and there is plenty to see and do for all ages, so swab the decks of your galleon, put on your eye patch, and be prepared to sail the seven seas in the city of seven hills!
Port Washington and Mequon are two of five principle cities involved in supporting a Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary
By Mary Boyle
Over a year ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced their plans to create a new Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary in Wisconsin, in order to conserve shipwrecks and other maritime heritage resources along the shores of Ozaukee, Sheboygan, and Manitowoc Counties. The proposed sanctuary will cover 1,075 miles and protect 37 known shipwrecks with significant historic, archaeological, and recreational significance, as well as a potential 80 more that have yet to be discovered.
A report published in January measuring the economic and environmental impact of the sanctuary showed a positive impact on the counties bordering the sanctuary; however, that does not mean that the proposal will be approved, and the public still has their opportunity to comment, which citizens of the affected communities are being encouraged to do -- particularly in regard to where the headquarters for the Lake Michigan sanctuary might be located: Port Washington, Mequon, Manitowoc, Two Rivers, or Sheboygan.
Russ Green, the Regional Coordinator for the NOAA, insists that the process isn't competitive among communities: "It's been very collaborative, from Two Rivers to Mequon; it's very regional, so the sanctuary will benefit all of the communities."
A national marine sanctuary essentially creates an underwater museum or park, which will not only protect and conserve shipwrecks, which are an important part of our state and national maritime history, but will also allow public access. Mooring buoys would be installed over shipwrecks and other areas of significance, allowing divers to find and explore the sites far more easily, while alerting other water traffic to its existence. Furthermore, the research involved in creating the sanctuary, such as lake bottom mapping to search out more shipwrecks, will serve both historical and biological purposes, as the findings will also be used to examine the health of the Lake.
A public meeting will be held in Port Washington on Thursday, March 16th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Lakeview Community Room (formerly the Wilson House), located at 206 N. Franklin St. Citizens will be given the opportunity to look at the proposal, which offers two different options for the borders of the sanctuary, and to ask questions about how the sanctuary will affect them.
If you are unable to attend the meeting, comments can also be made online at: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/wisconsin/ through March 31st, or you can sign the NOAA form here. For more information, contact Russ Green, Regional Coordinator, at 920-459-4425 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
After a three year absence, the Port Washington Pirate Festival is set to invade downtown Port the first weekend in June, under a new crew (pun intended).
As luck would have it, the festival coincides with a visit from the Tall Ship Denis Sullivan, which suits the organizers just fine. In addition, Port Washington will be busy with the City-Wide Rummage Sale, and the first Farmers Market of the year, on Saturday, June 4th, which will bring even more people into town over the course of the event. Many community organizations are getting in on the fun. In fact, to get yourself into a pirate-y-mood, start your Friday evening at the Port Exploreum for their First Friday free movie, which will be (of course) Pirates of the Caribbean, beginning at 6 p.m.
Although organizers are working with a limited budget, they're packing a lot of fun into the Festival, including Breakfast with the Pirates at Newport Shores Restaurant, a Pirate Invasion at Rotary Park, Costume Contests, live music, food and shopping, and a parade on Sunday.
The entertainment list is shaping up nicely, as well. Attendees from previous festivals may recall the impressive Knotty Bits, who will be making a triumphant return to the festival, along with Stellamani Belly Dancers. Renaissance performers, the Wonder Elixir of Life Company, are sure to entertain crowds, along with the Celtic music of HearthFire Band and the Celtic/Nautical music of Bard Jesse Linder. The Midwest Knife and Axe Throwers returns to the festival, while the Gypsy Moon Dancers will make their debut. Pirate storyteller and Anne Bonny impersonator, TS Rhodes, will also be on hand.
A local sax quartet, 4th Dimension, from Port Washington, will entertain crowds, as well as the crowd-pleasing music of Stereotype.
Various period entertainers/reenactors will be at the festival, including GSM Bristol, the River Valley Colonials, LarpCraft of Sheboygan, and the Pyrates of Portabello.
Kids will be thrilled with the hysterical antics of the Cutlass Cooking Show, the Pirate Black Bart, and Lord Drake's Mystic Magic Show, as well as a bouncy house, S.E.A. Hamsters, and more.
Some great vendors, such as Elysium Armory, Creative Fire Pottery, Rogue Maille, Ladies in Scarlet, the Yorkshire Dragon, and DaSue Dragon Designs will also be in attendance at the festival, along with a variety of food vendors and food trucks in the Gruel Galley.
The Port Washington Pirate Festival runs Friday, June 3rd, from 6-10 p.m.; Saturday, June 4th, from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Sunday, June 5th, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For a complete schedule of events, click here.
Organizers are still in need of volunteers and donations. If you are interested in helping out, contact (262) 323-6612 or go to their facebook page or the facebook event page.