By Elke Thoms
Are words like “avast” and “me hearties” commonplace in your home of pirate-fanatic children? This Saturday, Lake Fairfax Park will provide a day that’s a welcome alternative to watching Pirates of the Caribbean for the 67th time.
July 26 will be Lake Fairfax Park’s first Pirate Fest, with hopes the festival will become annual, says Tammy Schwab, Fairfax County Park Authority’s education and outreach manager.
The idea for the festival came about when Schwab began comparing Fairfax County Park Authority’s natural and cultural programming.
“Our natural events are doing very well, and we have a lot of programming going on there. But the history sites seemed to not have as much going on,” Schwab says. “So what I want to do is raise the profile of all the really cool things that we’re doing in Fairfax County to study cultural history. I want to bring [families] in with the fun of the pirates, but then show them the really cool history we have here in Fairfax County.”
Fun isn’t the only goal of the festival though. “It’s meant to be fun, with education sneaking in there,” Schwab encourages. “So you bring your kids, you have fun, but you’re going to leave with a better knowledge of maritime history and how it’s related to Fairfax County.”
The festival is starting off its first year with a bang, literally. There will be a pirate reenactors firing canons, and with over 50 volunteers signed up, the festival won’t be a quiet affair.
“We have a quarter-scale schooner that people can walk right up to and see a boat like what the pirates were using. We have a make your own pirate flag activity, so people can go home with their own pirate flag that they designed,” Schwab says. Other activities include pirate ditties with Ship’s Company Chanteymen, costume contests for all ages, a treasure hunt and various craft activities.
Lake Fairfax Park Pirate Fest
1400 Lake Fairfax Dr., Reston
Saturday, July 26: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.