Word has reached the shores of Estero Island that there are pirates approaching from all corners of the globe! Not to worry, though, as these are friendly pirates, with only good times and fun on their minds.
The Pollo Tropical Pirate Fest begins on Friday, October 9th with a Pirate Stroll along Old San Carlos Boulevard and offers fun family events all weekend before closing with a drum circle at the Town Fountain on Sunday evening at 5:15pm.
The Pirate Stroll begins at 6pm Friday. Costumed pirates and strolling musicians will be making stops at nine local establishments during this Pub & Grub crawl on their way to the Matanzas Inn where one and all will board the Pieces of Eight at 9pm and head to the Big Game Waterfront Grill for a Pirate Party. Free for all costumed pirates. Shuttle service will bring everyone back to Old San Carlos Blvd. or their island hotel. The Pirate Stroll will be making stops at The Cottage, Beach Pierside Grill, Paradise Tropical Wines, Zushi Zushi House of Brews, Yucatan Beach Stand, Smokin’ Oyster Brewery and Nervous Nellie’s on their way to Matanzas Inn and Big Game.
To help islanders get in the pirate mood, the Chamber is selling Pub & Grub Coupon books that contain free drink and food offers from 16 beach establishments, including those on the Pirate Stroll. Drink coupons will be good for at least a week starting Oct. 6th. Islanders can purchase a coupon book at the Chamber office at 17200 San Carlos Blvd or at the Chamber’s mobile info unit "Roxie” on Old San Carlos Blvd beginning Friday Oct. 4. Books are $15 in advance; $20 after Sat., Oct 5th.
Saturday and Sunday are very full days that begin at 10am when the Opening Cannon will be heard, kicking off the day’s entertainment! A keen eye will find pirates lurking all along Old San Carlos Blvd and into Time Square. Check out the two main stages: Cannon Stage near the Town Fountain and Crow’s Nest Stage near Third Street. Each one will have performances all day long both Saturday and Sunday with pirate acts the likes of The Craic (pirate music), Arrr, Inc., The Skeleton Crew (family fun theater) and Pyrate Magyic (magic show.) Pirate crews will be interacting with the crowd all day long on Old San Carlos Boulevard.
Be sure and stop by the Thieves Market, bigger and better than ever this year, in two market areas along Old San Carlos Blvd. There will be pirate themed items as well as a general market area.
The Blue Mermaids can be found in the mermaid tank near the Crow’s Nest Stage in the kids’ activity area starting at 10am. Later in the afternoon, about 5:15pm, they will migrate to The Lighthouse Resort pool. On Sunday the mermaids will once again be near the Crow’s Nest Stage beginning at 10am.
Kids are invited to enter the fishing contests that will be held both Saturday and Sunday from 11am-1pm under the bridge near the Matanzas Inn Restaurant. Kids are encouraged to bring their own poles, but the first 25 who register each day without a pole will receive a free rod and reel, donated by SOB’s, Lighthouse Resort, Liberty Coast Construction and Gavin’s Ace Hardware. Rudy’s Treasure Chest on the Pier is donating bait for the contest. The Grand Prize winner will receive a hand-made fishing rod courtesy of Hot Rods by Al Vacks. Runners-up will receive prizes donated by Krusty Pete’s On the Beach.
Families will enjoy story time each day at 12:45pm at the Crow’s Nest Stage. Kids are also invited to participate in a "Find the Pirate” quest, with prizes for those savvy enough to locate all the scallywags.
Make your way to the bayfront each afternoon so you have a good view of the sea battle that will take place at 2pm in the pass. Three ships, Pieces of Eight, The Black Pearl and The Black Duck will do battle with pirates holding the shore, using black powder cannon and muskets. The Fort Myers Princess will offer a one-hour sea battle viewing cruise at 1:45 each day. Pirate ship rides will also be available on both the Black Duck and the Pieces of Eight.
Adult pirates, especially those in costume, are invited to attend the Pirate Ball on Saturday at Nervous Nellie’s starting at 8pm. Wear your best pirate garb and be ready to party with the best! The annual adult Pirate Costume Contest will be held at the Ball at 9pm. Tickets are $12 in advance; $15 at the door.
Admission to the Pirate Fest is free for all events except the Pirate Ball, rides on the Black Duck and Pieces of Eight pirate ships and the Pub & Grub coupon books.
For a complete schedule see the October Sand Paper Entertainment Magazine or pollotropicalpiratefest.com.
Whether you’re seven or seventy, there’s a little bit of pirate in all of us, let your pirate flag fly during Fort Myers Beach’s annual tribute to the pirate life!