Hatches battened down for Pirate Day

B. Elaine Michaelis
Special to the Sun Times

In the face of cold weather and threat of rain, the Historical Museum's Pirate Day went off with only a few modifications — all of the planned activities were moved indoors or in the museum's protected walkways.

A steady stream of children, parents and grandparents arrived, even before the official opening time of 11 a.m., and continued well into the afternoon.

This was the museum's third annual Pirate Day and was meant to give children a taste of what it was like in the 1600s when marauding pirates reigned supreme in Southwest Florida.

"I've been here for all three Pirate Days," said long-term volunteer Karen Brieger. "And this year's seems to be as popular as ever." The event was free to the public.

Upon arrival, the children were given an "official" pirate name and a map that led them on a quest for treasure. Various fun-filled games of skill had to be completed before the final reward — a visit to Captain Blood's Treasure Chest, where the child could choose from a selection of prizes: coins, jewels, beads and other strange objects.

Throw in face painting, animated puppets, and food and drinks, not to mention a cast of volunteers dressed in costumes that would rival Jack Sparrow and the crew of the Black Pearl, and Pirate Day would not be easily forgotten.

"Our kids had a blast last year," said Marco Islander Glenn Anderson as he guided his children through the maze of activities. "Pirate Day is one of their favorite events."

New museum manager

One note of sadness cast a pall over the day's festivities. Pirate Day was the last official activity of museum manager Timothy England. England, a popular figure among museum volunteers, had been reassigned and is now the manager of the Pioneer Museum at Robert's Ranch, one of the five facilities within the Collier County museum system.

His replacement, Pam Miner, had already begun her new duties, starting with meeting and greeting Pirate Day visitors.