The Pirates in Paradise Festival invades Key West from Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.
The Pirates in Paradise Festival invades Key West from Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.
Cynthia Zeuli

Give Us an 'Arrr!'

The "Sirens of TI" show vamps it up in Vegas. (Photo Courtesy Mgm Mirage)
Sunday, September 17, 2006

You don't need a pet parrot or a peg leg to talk like a pirate. On Sept. 19, everyone -- eye patch or not -- can celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day ( and channel Long John Silver. The event was started in 1995 by two Oregon friends who, in the midst of playing racquetball, let an "Arrr!" slip out. They then spent the rest of the day, and every Sept. 19 thereafter, speaking pirate.

"We tell people to eat barbecue pork, drink lots of rum and have a good time," says co-founder Mark Summers, aka Cap'n Slappy. "It's the one holiday where you can dress like a pirate and walk down the street and it's okay that people yell 'Arrr!' at you from their cars."

To celebrate TLPD, we've scoured the country and the Caribbean for pirate-themed events and activities. -- Andrea Sachs

FESTIVAL TALK: Towns around the country -- especially in Florida -- host pirate festivals that last from one day to a week or longer. One of the biggest bashes is the Pirates in Paradise Festival (305-296-9694, ) in Key West, Fla., Nov. 30-Dec. 3. Events include the National Walk the Plank Championships; a sunset sail and pirate attack aboard a schooner ($50); and a pirate scuffle with British redcoats at Fort Taylor Historic State Park. You can also swap tales of pillaging and plundering at the park's Village Thieves' Market (Dec. 1-4), which features vendors selling pirate-themed crafts, a pub serving grog and vittles, and living-history pirate encampments, among other diversions. Cost: $4 per day, plus $1.50 per person for park admission.

Need more? Visit Key West's Pirate Soul Museum (524 Front St., 305-292-1113, ; $13.95).

On the opposite coast, enjoy a full roster of entertainment at the Portland (Ore.) Pirate Festival (503-292-3418, ) on Sept. 23. Activities include sword-fighting demos, a dockside tour and a pirate-battle sail on the American privateer Lynx ($80). Festival tickets: $12-$15.

For other pirate-themed festivals, see .

PIRATE HAUNTS: Track pirates along North Carolina's Outer Banks, which saw plenty of action by Blackbeard and his cohorts. At OBX's southern tip, board the free ferry to Ocracoke Island, where you can stay at the Blackbeard's Lodge (800-892-5314, ; doubles from $58 a night), check out the Blackbeard exhibits at Teach's Hole, pick up some pirate paraphernalia at the museum's shop (252-928-1718, ) and dig around the beaches for his lost treasure.

Traveling south to Beaufort, N.C., see Blackbeard's House or take one of's Blackbeard tours around the historic town (252-342-0715, ; $10-$15). Offshore, wreck divers can scope out Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard's supposed flagship that sank in Beaufort Inlet.

At California's Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando ( ), step inside a Johnny Depp-charged "Pirates of the Caribbean." The recently expanded attraction will shiver your timbers with additional characters and movie-based enhancements. At mealtime, grab a table at the Pirate's Dinner Adventure in Orlando (800-866-2469, ; $52), a swashbuckling adventure with a side of yellow rice. After the show, party like it's 1700 at the Pirate's Buccaneer Bash or bone up on your bad-boy lore at the Pirate's Maritime Museum, both of which are part of the dinner venue.

In Las Vegas, pirates fit in as well as showgirls. For a Sin City spin, book a room at Treasure Island (800-288-7206, ; from $79), then hit the sights: the "Pirates 4D" show at Luxor ($9.99); the "Sirens of TI," starring bikini-baring sirens and randy pirates (outside Treasure Island resort; free); and the seafood and carbs at Pasta Pirate in the California Hotel Casino (12 Ogden Ave., 800-634-6505).

SHIPS AHOY: Take to the seas on a pirating adventure with any number of themed cruises. Lobster Tales in Plymouth, Mass., for example, sets the scene with a mystery involving a hidden treasure and a lobster pot, and a 44-foot vessel. Info: 508-746-5342, ; $15 per person.

In Barbados, help raise the skull-and-crossbones flag of the Jolly Roger , a pirate-party tall ship that serves barrels of Pirate Punch and barbecue. For kicks, swing from the rope like a real-life swashbuckler or snorkel like a pirate on holiday. Info: ; $57.50.

For a longer ocean escapade, Whodunit Productions has paired with Royal Caribbean to create mystery cruises with pirate characters and bounties in the midst. The next week-long Mexican Riveria cruise departs Nov. 12 (from $582 per person double), when the Vision of the Seas sets sail from Los Angeles. Info: 661-297-3208, .

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