The following feature is an ‘encore’ presentation, originally published after the 2014 Kids Pirates Day. We are publishing it early this year so parents (or grandparents) can plan to take the kids in their family (little and big, young or old) to this great community event.
It was all about the kids, there was no doubt about that. Ladysmith’s Kids Pirate Day was pretty much the most fun anyone could hope for, young and old alike. The combination of dozens of ‘grown up’ volunteers, hundreds of youngsters, a huge variety of activities and a sunny Saturday on the pretty waterfront at Ladysmith proved to be an irresistible amalgamation that left us in a very happy state of mind.
The folks at the Ladysmith Maritime Society have split their popular Maritime Festival over two weekends after ‘almost killing our volunteers’, in the words of one local, when in the past the entire festival centred on a single weekend. So now, Maritime Heritage Day is the first event (May 30) followed by Kids Pirate Day which this year is Saturday, June 6.
We arrived around 10 a.m. at the harbour and were delighted to find so much on the agenda for the day. The bullhead fishing derby was already in full swing, adult pirate volunteers were gearing up to man the barbeques set up on the float, and the free harbour tours were in the offing.
We started out with the harbour tour, cruising off in the delightful 11-passenger Maritimer for a 45-minute look at the flora, fauna and beautiful scenery in the hidden nooks and crannies that can’t be viewed from the docks by landlubbers.
We arrived back at the wharf in time to take in some of the dozens of youngsters (many attired in pirate garb) participating in the fishing derby, grabbed a hamburger (prepared by pirates, of course) and dawdled through a leisurely lunch, during which Captain Jack Sparrow arrived on the scene. So much of the fun of this event is generated by the many pirate volunteers who remain right in character throughout the day. Their swashbuckling antics can’t help but bring smiles of delight to anyone who encounters them as they swagger along the docks, always happy to be photgraphed or have a word with a youngster.
The land-based activities for the kids were many and varied, too. Up the ramp on the outcropping of land above the harbour we found a craft table with youngsters who were busy creating pirate hats, face painting, a huge bouncy castle, an even larger bouncy slide and a very popular small petting zoo featuring goats, a pony and a calf. All of the activities were swarming with kids – a sure sign that the day was a success, no matter how you looked at it.
We always marvel at the magic that a town the size of Ladysmith (population 8,000) manages to create with its special events. There is so clearly great support from the town’s indefatigable volunteers as well as the business community. We owe great thanks to all of them for another superbly-orchestrated event that put smiles on faces and created many happy memories.
Further information on the Ladysmith Maritime Festival (including the events planned for Maritime Heritage Day on May 30) can be found at the website:
To get to the marina follow the signs for Transfer Beach Park and keep your eyes peeled for directions to the festival site, which will be to the left (north) of the park area.
GPS Co-ordinates for the community marina site are:
N 48 59.731 W 123 48.907