Time & place: Somewhere after noon today atop the Alki seawall. One of the hundreds of small children awaiting the Seafair Pirates‘ Landing said to an accompanying adult: “We’ve been here THREE HOURS!”
Said the adult: “Yeah, we’re not doing THIS again next year. We’ll just watch it on the news.”
Having watched this particular orchestration of the Seafair Pirates Landing two years in a row now (as we wrote last year, we had given up on the whole thing long ago, till we launched WSB and therefore felt dutybound to check it out) — we might do the same. Why, you ask? Click ahead for more, including more photos, and links to some other writeups already up online:
Do not get us wrong. We adore the Seafair Pirates. We know they are community-minded guys who do this out of the goodness of their hearts, and it ain’t easy to give up all that spare time, plan and execute costumes, attend events, sit under the baking sun in parades firing off your eardrum-shattering cannon, visit kids in hospitals, and so much more, etc. etc. So this is absolutely no knock on them or on anyone else involved in organizing and staging an event of this magnitude. But the event could be a real smash, with people leaving on a high note, instead of leaving feeling let down and ticked off (like this family), with just one addition.
It’s got nice touches already, such as the fly-by (left). The military is something of a partner in this event, from the vehicles parked across from Cactus (right) to the barge-like vessels used for the actual landing. Speaking of which, the “sail-by” done by the first such vessel tends to leave the onlookers a bit confused. Maybe that’s all in fun, but someone has to remember, we’re talking about a whole lot of families with small children. If you’ve ever had a small child in your family, you know that patience is at a premium, for the little ones and for their parents/grandparents/whomever. So today, when the arrival projected between 11:30 and 12:30 turned out to be a few minutes after the upward end of that range, much of the family crowd was on the far edge of restless. And the advance scouts’ “sail-by” (below) didn’t help.
So that vessel came and went, ostensibly checking out conditions, before its mate with the pirates onboard followed. (Photo below courtesy of Bob Bollen; we have none actually showing pirates, since unless you were within 10 feet or so, you couldn’t see them.)
And therein lies the other half of the problem. The pirates get off their vessel and … that’s pretty much it. We believe they were greeted by some Seafair queen/princess types, whom we had seen gathering in the taped-off landing zone, but after that — they wander off somewhere — and so does the crowd, exuding a cloud of “That’s IT????”
We are well aware the Pirates are not really performers. But some sort of post-landing event — even putting them up on a stage and having them ARRRRR! at the crowd and wish everybody a happy summer and suggest coming out to see them at the next half-dozen parades (including here in WS in two weeks) — would certainly counter the “that’s IT????” feeling.
Seems the organizers made a good-faith effort at enhancing the event this year, with some pre-landing giveaways (saw lots of folks wearing cute pirate hats courtesy of the WS Kiwanis), live music, merchandise and food/info booths (below, our favorite booth, a little slice of Margaritaville).
But events like these still are embedded with raised expectations for the climactic moment — and that could be enhanced with the simple addition of SOMETHING happening once they step ashore. As this tv clip shows, it’s good fun for the people who manage to get right up to the landing zone, but this event has grown beyond that, and a gesture to the wider crowd, stretching far down the beach in both directions, would end it on a higher note.
If you disagree and think this event is fabu just the way it is, you know how to shout it out … meantime, see you next weekend at Summer Fest!