EASTPORT, Maine — The streets of Eastport were filled with scalawags and pirates Saturday as the fourth annual Pirate Festival proved to be a hearty success.
“We drove up from South Addison,” 82-year-old Hilma Millett said, moments after being released from the stocks. “It was so worth the drive.”
Bed races, a parade full of pirate ships full of growling pirates guarding their treasure, wenches passing out drams of rum, plane and boat rides, vendors galore, public suppers and a pirate ball gave everyone a chance to get into the spirit. Mother Nature cooperated by providing cloudless, 72 degree weather.
The cheer of the day was “arrrrgh,” as swashbucklers passed each other in the street. From babes in arms to great-grandmothers, everyone seemed to enjoy getting into the act.
Eastport City Manager George “Bud” Finch was directing the parade and every business on Main Street was open and busy. On one end of the street, The Brigands, a pirate-costumed band, played sea chanteys and pirate songs to the delight of hundreds, their music bouncing off the buildings and down the street.
Tinia and Joseph Graham were fully dressed as pirates, along with their 20-month-old son, Jackson.
Tinia said she read about the Pirate Festival in the newspaper and immediately told her husband they were going.
“She told me, ‘We’ve got to go,’ and I am so glad she did,” Joseph Graham said.
Oscar Jessup and his wife, Melinda Aber, of Tacoma, Wash., said they extended their vacation another week to include the festival.
“This is such a fantastic idea,” Jessup said. “I’m having the time of my life.”
Aber said she was astounded by the spirit shown by the participants, especially the many people in costume. “These people are just having a ball,” she said. “What a fabulous way to end our trip.”
The couple said they flew to Chicago, purchased a motor home and drove east. “Next year we’re planning on driving from Chicago west,” Aber said. “But now, I have fallen in love with the coast of Maine. I think we are coming back here.”
Although cannon fire along the breakwater spooked some of the younger children, two small boys said they weren’t scared.
“It’s only pretend,” one said wisely.
The Pirate Festival was created four years ago as a companion event to the Salmon Festival, which was held simultaneously this week. Salmon kebobs, salmon burgers and other tasty treats were popular among both Eastporters and visitors.
“This is going on my list of things not to miss each summer,” Dorie Smith of Waterville said. “What a blast!”