by Corey Ralston
Here Ye Mateys of Fresno. ‘Tis be the time where you can gather your treasure and head out to the thriving Pirate community of New Providence in the year of our Lord 1718. For two days Roeding Park will be transformed into a dastardly pirate’s school for all landlubbers.
Queen Elizabeth, known as “Good Queen Bess”, was dubbed the Pirate Queen because she needed a way to defeat the Spanish Armada. So, the wise lass sent letters to Sir Francis Drake and other pirates to raid the Spaniards and share the booty collected with the Crown. And that is where we find ourselves–in a town that glorifies the heroic thieves.
“The Fresno Pirate Festival began as Queen Bess and the Pyrates nine years ago. We have moved around to several parks, beginning in Bakersfield, and finally settling in Roeding Park where we have been for the last three years,” Event Producer Joyce Roberts said.
Roberts says the event will be very family oriented with lots of activities for children. There is archery, a scavenger hunt, and entertainment all day long on both days. “We have Fowl Tales, a dog and bird act, the Banat Tanjora belly-dancing group, and a magic act called Myth and Magic. There is food and ale available, and many vendors to separate you from your hard earned doubloons. There are cannons, battles, boat races and lots of other events geared towards the family enjoyment.”
Thanks to the ever-popular Disney Film Series The Pirates of the Caribbean, pirates have staked their claim in pop culture once again. But according to Roberts, these pirates are not what they revere or emulate.
“Being from the Renaissance culture myself, I try to keep the main characters true to type. There are many that do not appear in history, but the main theme going through the day and the actual actors in the battles are from history,” she said.
Pirates like Black Bart, Blackbeard, Henry Morgan, Madame Po and Captain William Kidd are the historical figures that the event aims to teach your children about.
Did you know most pirates died of alcohol or were hung? They did not bury their money; they spent it. They did not wear fancy clothes; they sold them and bought alcohol. They did not walk the plank, however they did torture prisoners over fires called bucans, hence the term Buccaneers.
So lace up your boots and strap that parrot to your shoulder, and come learn about history’s most misunderstood criminals.