When you're a mom of boys and girls, it can often be difficult to get everyone to agree on what constitutes a fun family activity. This is especially true in our home, where we have a daughter who dreams about unicorns, rainbows and princesses - and a son who dreams about superheros, dragons and pirates*. So, unless we're able to meld their differences, we end up spending more time than I'd like debating who gets to do what.
As I mentioned earlier in the week, Father's Day weekend is one of my favorite times of the year, which is kind of ironic since my own Dad is in Heaven. But, instead of being sad on Father's Day, I consciously remember that my husband is a father too - and that he deserves just as much love and attention as I gave to my own father year after year.
So, to keep everyone in good spirits, we make sure this weekend is packed full of fun things to do. We spend Saturday at the Strawberry Festival in Mattituck, and then head over to Sayville Sunday morning to hang out with a bunch of pirates and pirate princesses! If you haven't had the pleasure of going to the Pirate Festival at The Long Island Maritime Museum, grab yer little swashbucklers and seafarin’ scoundrels and prepare to have the time of yer life.
Whether you're a land lubber or a seadog, the Pirate Festival is full of whimsy, laughs and good times for the young, the old and everything in between. We've gone in the rain, and we've gone in the sun - and no matter what the weather, the pirates are always waiting for us. And, they're always in jolly good spirits.
In our experience, it's better to go earlier in the day because parking can be a pain. They have scheduled events all day long, but if you're a pirate fanatic, you may want to check out the Schedule of Events to see who's playing when before heading down. We like the Treasure Hunts the best and they typically have two each morning and two each afternoon (think 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM).
Just make sure to bring cash for the Thieves Market because there is no way you are walking by a tent full of pirate gear and not buying something for your little ones. (Important Hint: They stock the Thieves Market with swords, shields and bandanas from Oriental Trading! So save yourself a few gold doubloons and place an order online before you go - otherwise, you'll fork over $15-20 for the sword and shield set.)
Here’s what else you need t' know:
Pros: lots of happy pirates running around (even the adults come in costume); everyone is in a good mood; costume contests; treasure hunts; live music; live "theatric" performances by various pirate groups throughout the grounds; the little beach area lets kids escape when the noise just gets to be too loud, or they just need a break.
Cons: It is VERY loud (if you have children that are afraid of loud noises, bring ear plugs, or prep them in advance); cannons and hanging skeletons can be a wee bit scary; can get very crowded in the afternoon; parking stinks.
Who goes thar: Loads of pirates attend from up and down the coast: Ye Pyrate Brotherhood, Kings of the Coast, Valhalla’s Pirates, Pirates for Sail, Bloody Historical, The Brigands, John Corr, Bawdy Buccaneers, and Strike the Bell. Check out the entertainment here.
What t' brin: your camera; hats and sunglasses (it's bright - the water on the bay reflects everything); anti-bacterial hand cleanser and some extra t.p.; snacks if yer kids are picky (we like to bring along some Pirates Booty!)
Admission: Saturday, June 15th & Sunday, June 16th. Times: 11am - 6pm. General Admission: $8.00; Kids 5 & under are free. Go dressed in your favorite pirate garb and receive a special gif!.
Fair winds and safe harbours,
*My son is standing over my shoulder reading this as I type, and he would like me to clarify that he means cool pirates like Jack Sparrow and Pirates of the Carribbean not baby pirates like Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Those are the ones his little sister watches. ;)
P.S. Do you want to learn how to talk like a pirate before you go? Check out some basic pirate lingo here from Ol' Chumbucket and Cap'n Slappy, the creators of International Talk Like A Pirate Day, which is celebrated every September 19th.