LUBEC —Part of the opening ceremonies for the Eastport Pirate Festival, the “Lubec Invasion”, will begin this year at 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 31 with a long parade of smoke-spewing Harley Pirates who attack from the east.
Every year tourists and locals join forces to defend the tiny coastal community of Lubec, Maine, from northern Eastport “pirates” invading by sea, land and air. The rumble of the motorcycles, heard long before they can be seen, alert Lubec defenders to arm themselves with water guns, (biodegradable) water balloons and cannon soakers.
Meanwhile, at sea, the local Lubec Privateers will defend their bay from the “Hornswagglers” of Eastport. Landlubbers can view the fight from the shores while they cheer their defending team on or they can book a seat on an Inn at the Wharf boat and fight alongside the locals.
Meant as a defensive distraction, a half-dozen or so pirate planes fly overhead, dropping rolls of TP over the historic village.
Every year, the invasion begins as the last Harley tail gunner passes and the bikers work to take control of Lubec land, the Hog owners signal to the pirates on the bay that it is safe to come ashore.
Lubec supporters will line the banks once again, only this year, they will be joined by approximately 30 local Machias Militia, dressed in historic British red coats, who fire their (blank) muskets on the Eastport bandits in an effort to help defend their sister city. Many local boats from north and south will then participate in Danny Fitzsimmons’ Lobster Boat Race. The commencement race horn will signal at 11 a.m. Come early to register. Children’s races and games will follow on the closed off Lubec Water Street.
Local restaurants, including Cohill’s Irish Pub, Water Street Tavern, Frank’s Dockside and Takeout, Inn on the Wharf, Morano’s Pizza, Shore Thing, Kippy’s Corner and Dragonfly Restaurant and Pub, will supply grog and grub and a festive place for the pirates to settle differences.
On Sunday, Sept. 1, the children’s races will continue with a mud flat run but, a game of Pirate baseball will end the two day feud.
The Pirate Invasion victory celebration will be held at 1 p.m. at the Downeast Dragonfly Bar and Grill. Live bands and a celebratory Pirate Pig Feed will be held on the back deck. It’s a great way for visitors to experience the pirates as well as the local culture.
“This year’s event will be bigger than ever,” said pirate event coordinator Ruby Fry. “Throughout the two-day Pirate Invasion and hopeful Lubec victory celebration the following day, a wide array of family-oriented events will take place. A children’s Pirate Parade, boat races in the bay, a low-tide mud run to Lubec Channel Lighthouse, peg leg races and pirate face painting are in the works.
“A costume contest for all ages, a ‘Give Me Your Best AARGH!’ contest, not to be outdone by a ‘Take Your Picture With a Pirate’ booth, and many more family-friendly events are in the plans for this year.”
The annual event has drawn crowds from across the country for years. These loyal defenders love Lubec and enjoy the event enough to travel long distances to attend.
“Why would someone make a 2,000-mile trek to attend a pirate invasion in a small Down East Washington County town?” said Ohio resident Robert Ohrenberg. “It started with Lubec itself; we discovered the pirate invasion by accident when we happened to be visiting the same weekend as the festival.”
Robert and his wife Annette love the coast so they bought a piece of coastal property and now they travel here each year. “There is an interesting mixture of personalities, cultures and lifestyles in the town, adding to its flair and uniqueness,” he said.
But the pirate invasion is a huge draw for the Midwest couple. “You get to witness or participate while citizens of two communities, both adults and children, dual in the largest water gun and water balloon fight you have ever seen. This culminates into an old-fashioned small-town street festival,” he said.
For more information on the Pirate Invasion, check out “Lubec Pirate Invasion 2019” on Facebook. A schedule of activities will be posted and updated regularly.