Back for the third year under new management, the Port Washington Pirate Festival returns to downtown Port Washington this June 1-3 with a new attitude, and a new name to reflect it: Pirate Family Daze.
Tracy Ripple, one of the event organizers, said that there was concern that the event was not really for families, and the new name would hopefully reflect their commitment to education and fun for the whole family. "There were some who felt that it was more of an adult event, to dress up and drink, but there are bouncy houses, educational opportunities, and all kinds of other activities for kids.
The event opens on Friday, June 1st, at 5 p.m. The Thieves Marketplace will have both modern and themed vendors to shop, and the Gruel Galley features a number of food trucks and concessions. This year, there will be a variety of live music opportunities. On Friday evening, the Kenny James Duo opens the Island Bar, 16 Paces is at the Buccaneer Bar, and Mumblemouth is at the Barnacle Stage and Mini-Bar. At 7 p.m., Vinyl Groove takes the stage at the Island Bar, and Hearthfire takes over at the Buccaneer Bar. Live music continues through the weekend, with Block Party at 1 p.m. at the Buccaneer Stage and Hey! Captain Knight at 1 p.m. on the Island Stage. Saturday evening, Left on Sunset takes the Buccaneer Stage at 7 p.m., and The Pillage People are at the Island Stage at 7 p.m. On Sunday, Riding Shotgun is at 2 p.m. at the Buccaneer Bar, and Shut the Front Door plays the Island Stage at 2 p.m. Besides music on the event grounds, everyone's favorite a capella sea shanty group, Bounding Main, will be performing at 3, 5 and 7 p.m. at the Smith Bros. Coffee House on Saturday.
There will be both an Adult and Children's Costume Contest again, this year; the Children's Contest happens on Saturday and Sunday at noon at the Dockside Stage, while the Adult Contest happens at 6 p.m. at the Buccaneer Stage on Saturday night. As in past years, there will be a Parade at 1 p.m. on Sunday on Washington Street, which runs east and west past the north slip and to the Marina parking lot.
The Tall Ship Denis Sullivan will be in the harbor for sails and deck tours throughout the weekend. Sail tickets can be purchased through the Port Exploreum, an interactive historical museum that tells the story of Port Washington and Lake Michigan, located in Port Washington's historic downtown. The Port Exploreum's newest exhibit, Not A World Apart: How We Lived, tells the stories of 8 individuals who lived in the local poorhouse or were buried in nearby Potter's Field at the turn of the century. Port Washington's 1860's Lighthouse and Light Station Museum and the Historic Judge Eghart House will also be open for tours.
Besides bouncy houses and hamster balls, there will be a lot of fun entertainment around the grounds — some of it with a Rennaisance theme, such as the Courtesan and the Cabin Boy, a music and comedy duo; Gryphon Poursuivant, a reenactment group that portrays a seige encampment in the 16th Century; and, GSM Bristol, which is another 16th Century military reenactment group. Those familiar with the festival may remember the bellydancing Stellamani Caravan, the entertaining antics of Knotty Bits and Cutlass Cooking, the River Valley Fife & Drum Corps, Thee Bluebeard, and Alice Wilson the Living Statue. New this year is the magician Shandini, who hails from Central Wisconsin and has performed at many area festivals and events.
Volunteers are needed to help work the Children's Activities and more. If you are interested, contact Tracy Ripple at (262) 323-6612. For more information, visit the Pirate Family Days website, www.piratefamilydaze.org, or the Facebook Page.