EASTPORT — Shipmates and salmon lovers, it’s that time of year again.
The third annual Eastport Pirate Festival and the 22nd annual Maine Salmon Festival begin Friday, Sept. 5, when this seaside community becomes the biggest pirate town on the East Coast and salmon lovers gather for a taste of the sea.
“The Eastport Pirate Festival has become the biggest event of its kind in northern New England and the Maritimes,” the organizers said in a press release.
And the salmon festival is always a delight.
The fun starts a week earlier with the first ever pirate ship invasion of neighboring Lubec at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 30. “Led by pirate Capt. Butch Harris, the scheduled invasion is planned to catch local citizens sleeping and unprepared to defend their women, livestock, gold and grog. Rumor has it on the coast of Down East Maine that Lubec will not be taken without a fight,” the release said.
But the actual weekend of activities begins next Friday, Sept. 5, with the pirates whale watch, a Captain Morgan Party at the Happy Crab restaurant and a pirate dinner at the Rose Garden, all in Eastport. After that it is off to the annual Pirates Ball at the Eastport Chowder House. Admission to the ball is $5 for those in costume, $10 for those not in costume.
New this year will be a pirate crate race on Sunday, Sept. 7, testing and celebrating the speed and agility of local pirates, a pirate boot race and a re-enactment of the trial of Ann Bonny and Mary Reed.
Bonny and Reed are the most famous and ferocious women pirates in history and the only ones known to have plied their trade in the Western Hemisphere. The trial, to be held in the public square at Overlook Park, will offer a look at life and justice for pirates and women in the 1700s, the release said.
The pirate bed race, titled “The Pillage in the Village,” will be held again this year on Sept. 7.
Local restaurant owner Bob Del Papa has had a team of pirate bed designers and engineers hard at work making this year’s entry. “We had a setback when we found out that our bed could not include sails, jet engines and 34 wheels,” Del Papa said in the release.
While the pirates are assailing the city, salmon lovers are invited to participate in all events pirate and not-so-pirate.
Paint Eastport Day begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, at the Eastport Gallery.
There will be a farmers market from 10 a.m. to noon, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. a fine arts, crafts and antiques fair.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Raye’s Mustard Mill and Museum will be open for tours.
Sunday’s activities begin early with the Kids 1K road race and the Adult 5K run and walk.
Tickets for the salmon and chicken barbecue go on sale at 10 a.m.
Also at 10 a.m. the Aquaculture Information Booth opens in the craft tent.
Raye’s Mustard Mill will hold more tours.
From 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. is the popular Salmon Festival Dinner.
At noon the motorcycle show begins, and at 1 p.m. is the annual architectural walking tour of Eastport buildings.
For more information on events and times, go to www.eastportpiratefestival.com or www.eastport.net. Information also may be obtained from the city’s Web site at www.eastportme.gov.