Pirate Fest moves to Harbor Island

Pirates were given the go-ahead to raise their flag over Harbor Island this summer for the fourth annual Michigan Pirate Festival, an event held in conjunction with Loutit District Library. "As far as the library is concerned, we are all for it,' library spokesman Larry Halverson said. "Central Park is an ideal spot, but there are some limitations there.'
Alex Doty
Apr 25, 2012

Grand Haven City Council on Monday night unanimously approved the festival’s application to have the 2012 event on Harbor Island from Aug. 10-12.

Based on the event application, upwards of 3,000 people are expected to attend the three-day festival — which will feature pirate exhibits and activities, live arms demonstrations, and other re-enactments.

“Harbor Island is going to open us up to a larger amount of pirates,” Halverson said. “There’s going to be encampments out there now, and they wouldn’t be able to do that at Central Park.”

Despite the move to a bigger venue on the island, festival organizers said they wouldn’t lose sight of their target audience: families.

“We’re still family oriented,” festival president Dan Leonard said. “We have a much larger area for children.”

Family activities include a cast from a production of "Peter Pan," dancing mermaids, and other pirate-themed crafts and games, he said.

“We are a family event,” Leonard said. “We don’t want to go late into the night.”

Loutit District Library Director John Martin said he was excited about what the move would mean for the festival going forward.

“Being on Harbor Island will allow them to do so many more things and spread that out,” Martin said.

During last summer’s festival, a wedding at Central Park forced the pirates to Loutit District Library’s parking lot, and a thundershower that Saturday afternoon forced festival participants indoors to the library and parking garage.

While the weekend festival is moving to the island, Loutit officials stressed that weekday events would still take place at the Grand Haven library. Halverson said the traditional educational components would take place at the library, and activities following the pirate sail-in.

Since the festival is similar in nature to the local museum's annual Feast of the Strawberry Moon, which is held on Harbor Island in June, Halverson said he and other festival organizers talked with the Tri-Cities Historical Museum to make sure the events wouldn't conflict.

“We got their blessing on it, and we moved from there,” he said.

Halverson noted that organizers also consulted with Feast organizers to get tips on how to run the Harbor Island event.



Peter Pan was a winner in his own correct, with two Melbourne Cup wins. With Billy Duncan in the burden, the horse fight hard in Melbourne Cup to approach from at the back after clipping the heels of the mount in front and lessening to the ground.


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