Mutiny on the Beach
Pirate Fest Scuttled-Locals Rescue Event
The promoters of Pirate Fest 2012 pulled out of the event at the last minute this week, notifying vendors and sponsors that the event was "postponed” to a date to be determined.
Wasting no time, local swashbuckling businesses swung aboard a sinking event and found a way to bring it safely into port.
The local effort to revive the event took shape within hours. Meeting Wednesday morning at the Yucatan, locals stepped up to make sure that Columbus Day weekend is all about pirates in Fort Myers Beach.
"We'll make this happen, and it will be lots of fun," pledged Steve DeAngelis of Nervous Nellie’s.
In the notice sent out on Tuesday, Sept 25 by Suzanne King for SIK Productions and Pirates of the Treasure Coast, producers of the "7th Annual Pirate Fest of Fort Myers Beach”, she wrote:
"Every event has its obstacles, some more than others. The obstacles encountered by this pirate fest over the past few years have been quite challenging to say the least. We have endured each and every one of them and have produced the most successful pirate festival the area has ever seen. The pirate fest has brought substantial revenue to Fort Myers Beach businesses each year and put smiles on the faces of many of the area’s residents and visitors.
"This year, due to obstacles both new and old, we feel it is in the best interest of all parties, both those investing their time and money and those paying patronage; that we postpone the event to ensure that we are able to provide the best show possible to our sponsors, vendors and patrons.
"We apologize for any inconveniences, but we firmly believe that something worth doing is something worth doing right.”
Speaking with Town Manager Terry Stewart, he explained to us that event promoters are encouraged to begin working with the Town months in advance of an event. The application for Pirate Fest was submitted 3 weeks before the event.
When Town Council made changes to the special events ordinance months ago one of the changes requires special event organizers with amplified music to notify residents within 500 feet. That notification needs to be done well in advance of the event, giving residents the opportunity to speak to Town Council before the permit is issued. Event organizers were notified of this requirement at that time, and again as each event application came in.
When the Pirate Fest application arrived in mid-September, the organizers were reminded of this again and arrangements were made to include the event on the Oct. 1 Council agenda. But no notification letters were sent to residents and the organizers withdrew the application this week.
The last minute cancellation created challenges for several businesses, including the Sand Paper, who had already sent their October Entertainment Magazine to the press. The Entertainment Magazine provides daily listings of live music and entertainment around the island and the October issue featured the Pirate Fest. Several busy hours later, the revised October Magazine will hit newsstands on time, on October 1 and include word of the postponement. Details of the revised Pirate Fest activities will be found in the Island Sand Paper today and next week.
On Wednesday morning the work began for the swashbuckling saviors of Pirate Fest. Plans were made, volunteers stepped up and Pirate Fest sails again!
On Friday, October 5, The Pieces of Eight Adult Pirate Cruise for pirates over age 21, will board at Salty Sam’s at 6pm. They’ll sail the waters of the Gulf and Bay, before docking at Nervous Nellie’s at 8pm so cruisers can take part in the Pirate Ball being hosted at Nervous Nellie’s from 8-11pm. Those on the Pirate Cruise will be picked up by the Pieces of Eight about 9:30 so they can sail back to Salty Sam’s and their cars. Anyone interested in taking part in the Adult Pirate Cruise can call 239-765-7272. The all-ages Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise will also sail on Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 4pm.
The Pirate Ball will continue at Nervous Nellie’s. Everyone is invited to participate. The Ball will include prizes, free appetizers, and Sailor Jerry’s specials from 8-11pm. Come dressed as your favorite pirate for the Pirate Ball!
On Saturday, October 6, a Kids’ Fishing Tournament will be held on the Nervous Nellie’s docks from 11am-2pm for kids age 12 and under. Bring your gear and a parent or adult and have some fun catching fish! If you don’t have gear, some will be available, courtesy of Yucatan and Smokin’ Oyster Brewery. Bait provided by John Lallo of Pete’s Time Out. Prizes and trophies for winners.
After the fishing tournament, the Pieces of Eight will put on a special Pirate Ship Attack off Nervous Nellie’s dock. Kids of all ages are sure to enjoy this special pirate skirmish.
All Saturday, the downtown merchants are sponsoring a Pirate Pub Crawl. Anyone in a pirate costume is eligible for special deals at sponsor locations.
"There will be live entertainment from Times Square to the docks at Nervous Nellie’s. Sounds like fun to me!" said Tom Kohler of the Yucatan.
Sponsors of the revised event include: Nervous Nellie’s, Matanzas Inn, Krusty Pete’s, SOB’s, Shipwreck, Pieces of Eight, Salty Sam’s, Parrot Key, Big Game, Yucatan, Zushi-Zushi, Pete’s Time Out and the Times Square Merchants Association.
"I felt like a cannonball dropped into my lap when they cancelled the Pirate Fest…This is such a fun event-a signature Fort Myers Beach event—we had to find a way to keep it going!” said Steve DeAngelis of Nervous Nellie’s.
And so they have. Stay tuned to the Sand Paper for the complete schedule of events as Islanders make plans to party like a pirate the weekend of October 5-6.
Brian Roessler of The Lighthouse summed up the attitude of locals, "Consider this a mutiny, for-the-better, by the local pirates. But let it be known: All pirates young and old are welcome!"