Plunder wonder

July 8, 2006 5:27 pm
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 |   WS culture/arts | WS miscellaneous

Back from a long day in the sun that included the Seafair Pirates’ landing at Alki.

We’ll confess, it’s been many years since we checked out the pirate event. Last time, somewhere in the ’90s, it was pretty pathetic — we wandered down to the beach, found disorganization and apathy. We enjoy the Pirates’ other appearances — especially in parades — so we decided we’d stick with those.

But given all the advance publicity this time, plus our honor-bound duty to report for This Here Blog, we decided to check out today’s event. As we arrived at the beach (on foot, after getting a ride as far as Admiral & 59th), our jaw dropped. Not just a massive crowd, but also food and merchandise booths, and even other events under way on the beach — some sort of pole-vault competition (!?). It looked like a beach in California, and we mean that as a compliment … a beach where people were truly having tons of fun in the sun.

So we staked out a spot on the rocky shore, not far from what appeared to be the designated landing spot west of the Bathhouse & statue, and watched. The fireboat Chief Seattle went by, putting on a show. A flotilla of various sailboats, power boats, and classic wooden yachts kept shuffling about, with at least one boat flying a pirate flag, leading us to wonder if the Pirates had swapped out vessels this year.

Finally, a cannon boom in the distance — and a sighting of the Army barge-type boats that we knew the Pirates had been using for these landings. One came ashore with just soldiers on board (military invasion of WS? has it come to this?), then backed up, and cleared the way for the Real Deal. Huge cheers and applause. Lots of little kids — and young women — in pirate togs. What a greeting those guys got.

We have no idea what they did AFTER storming ashore from their barge — we started walking toward the water-taxi shuttle. But we were so heartened to see thousands of people show up. Dear everyone, PLEASE turn out for the parade in two weeks along Cali Ave, OK? That’s the real heart of summer fun in WS — and it has been a bit sparse in recent years.

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