Pyrate Fest invades Put-in-Bay for lots of family fun

Jun 30, 2021 | Around Ottawa County, Featured | 0 comments

Barb Collier and her grandchildren, Derek and Melissa, stand guard over the canons in DeRivera Park at Put-In-Bay Pyrate Fest.


Capt. Jack Sparrow and his motley, murderous crew staged a more than friendly takeover of DeRivera Park this past weekend, as “pyrates” of all shapes and sizes invaded Put-In Bay.

The Pyrate Fest party saw a Friday night pub crawl and a Saturday and Sunday kids fest. There were booming canons and Tarot cards being read. Captain Jack, himself, took on all comers in numerous sword fights.

The smiling faces of the children having their picture taken with Capt. Jack attests to their delight, and the occasional canon fire may have startled the birds, but no damage was done to any of the ships in the harbor.

More than 12 re-enactors in period clothing (and accents) took part. There were displays of period accurate weaponry, including functioning sea muskets and cutlasses, and the pyrate fortune teller reading Tarot cards shared only positive futures.

Period piece canon were loaded with black powder and fired at regular intervals.

It was 14 years ago that the founder of the event, Ty Winchester of the Park Hotel, wanted a family-friendly summer event, and created Pyrate Fest. It was important to Winchester and his family, said Tina Rogers, Event Coordinator for the Pyrate Fest.

“Ty and his mother started this to provide a family activity. Technically, this is our 14th year, but we are calling it our 13th year because of Covid-19. The image of Put-In-Bay is changing. We are bringing in vendors, and being much more kid friendly.”

Weekends on Put-In-Bay have always been known as adult orientated, but that image is changing.

“This is a family friendly fun event on a weekend,” said Rogers. The event continues the Put-In-Bay re-branding effort that is successfully taking place, as the island wants to become known as more then just a weekend party location. It wants to be a place to take the whole family, and do it seven days a week throughout the summer.

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