Possible Vow Renewal in the Works for the 2016 Pirate Festival

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Calling all couples who either found love at the Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival or want to fulfill their destiny of celebrating wedded bliss on the high seas – the 2015 Pirate Festival may be long over, but that just means organizers are busy working on next year’s event, which may include a special twist if enough couples are interested.

“This year was our 10th anniversary and it was the most wonderful, most successful Pirate Festival yet,” said Event Director Belinda Hancock. “This was the first year we were in Time Square, and I think we were very well received by the businesses there. They loved the entertainment we put on, and we had our costume contest there on Saturday evening.”

Hancock and her pirate crew, Skeleton Crew Entertainment, has been at the helm of Pirate Festival since late 2012, and they spend the time between festivals roaming around festivals all over the country to handpick the best acts for our event. One of those acts is pirate historian Timothy Fraley, who Belinda says has offered to help with a special event in the works for the 2016 Pirate Festival, scheduled for Columbus Day weekend (October 7-9, 2016).

“We have been talking with him about presiding over vow renewal ceremonies and possibly actual wedding ceremonies as his character Lord Governor Henry Hyde,” Belinda told us. “This is pretty exciting – my husband and I have been involved in first renaissance, then pirate festivals for years, and we’ve done a vow renewal at a pirate fest before. It’s so much fun!”

Nothing is definite right now, and Belinda says she first wants to see how many people might be interested in participating.

“The Lord Governor is a very colorful character, so this will be a great event to watch, too,” she said. “There will be some kind of charge to participate, and we are thinking of possibly doing this somewhere on the festival grounds, the Pieces of Eight pirate ship or maybe at the stage in Time Square at sunset.”

Love and pirates do have a long tradition on our island, as famous lady pirate Anne Bonny hid from the Spaniards in Estero Bay and honeymooned on Lovers Key (hence the name) with her husband, ‘Calico’ Jack Rackham, in 1712.

“I think this would be a wonderful addition to our pirate festival,” Hancock said. “I would like anyone with any ideas and/or interest to email me at reelpirates@comcast.net.”

Keri Hendry Weeg