Pirate Fest Pics & News
Thousands attend Cocoa Beach Pirate Fest
Chris Bonanno, FLORIDA TODAY 7:01 a.m. EDT June 16, 2014
Several thousand people packed Cocoa Beach for the third annual Pirate Fest held from Friday through Sunday.
"It's wonderful fun," Chasity Beauregard of Deltona, who said she'd "absolutely" return next year.
The event was held at International Palms Resort.
Vendors and entertainers were stationed both inside and outside the resort, giving patrons of all ages a wide range of options.
"Throughout the day we have (had) various entertainment from different bands. We have different shows from all sorts of pirate entertainers," said event organizer Kathy Gilbert of Pirates of the Treasure Coast/POTTC Events. "You'll even get a chance to see mermaids in the pool. We have a lot of activities for children including children's shows, treasure hunts and a water balloon battle."
POTTC was asked to bring the event to Brevard, which has quickly become an annual tradition as tourism dollars from other sources disappeared.
"We brought the festival here after the loss of the space shuttle program," said Gilbert. "It was an effort to increase tourism to this area. We were asked by somebody that we know at the resort to come out here and bring one of our festivals as we put on these festivals throughout the state."
Many in attendance were from around the state, who regularly attend the roughly four or five pirate-themed events a year that POTTC puts on. There are about 30 events state-wide throughout the year.
"I love it. We love Cocoa Beach anyway. This is where my wife and I come to go to the beach," said Michael Noles of Orlando, who displayed pirate-themed artwork at the event.
"Lots of fun, there are people that use a lot of knowledge and history to put together their costumes, their acts," said Don Maitz of Sarasota, celebrity artist and creator of the original Captain Morgan Spiced Rum character. "They try to have things as authentic as possible. You don't find a lot of polyester hanging around here. These pirates try to make you believe that you've stepped back in history."
Gilbert also noted that the the festival is only growing and she thinks it will continue to do so.
"This has been a very positive response and we've seen a definite improvement this year as far as a lot more patrons coming out and I think by now, our third year, a lot more people are getting to know about the event," added Gilbert.
"Better and better crowds, cooler vendors, everyone's a bit more familiar, lot of love, good times," said Patrick Gall of Tampa of the progress he's seen in his third year at the event.
Contact Bonanno at (321) 242-3662, email@example.com or follow him@FTChrisBonanno