A pirate's life

Aspiring swashbucklers received a tutorial on how to dress like a real pirate on Thursday, the fourth day of the Michigan Pirate Festival in Grand Haven.
Julie Angell
Aug 8, 2014

“One of my favorite lines — accessorize, accessorize, accessorize,” said Admiral Morgan, a pirate character played by Stella Durham. “You can never have too many accessories.”

The “Dress Like a Pirate” session was just one of several activities planned for little pirates and their families at Loutit District Library this week. Admiral Morgan intermixed history lessons about pirates from the past with fun facts about their attire.

After getting tips on how to achieve the ultimate pirate look, participants tried on authentic-looking outfits.

“They have so much fun with it,” Durham said with a smile. “What kid doesn’t wanna’ play dress up?”

The pirates went over the essentials to adding a raggedy, sea-stricken effect to the clothing. Putting clothes in the dryer with rocks, burning them, and using razors and other scratchy items are important ways to prepare clothing for plenty of plundering and pillaging.

Following the tutorial, families took to pirate coloring and crafts, led by Jackie Sparrow’s pirate friends and wenches clad in their animated attire.

Durham has been involved in many of this week’s Michigan Pirate Festival activities and has attended the Grand Haven event for six years. Little pirates were intrigued by her Admiral Morgan character because of her realistic and odd accent.

Originally from Detroit, Durham said she’s traveled across the globe and picked up accents along the way. Her odd accent is a mix of English, Cockney, Welsh, Australian and Irish, which combines to make for a convincing pirate accent.

“A very long time ago, I dressed up as Captain Morgan for a Halloween party as a joke,” Durham said.

The joke turned into a real swashbuckling character with a historic backstory — and Durham became Admiral Morgan, Captain Morgan’s daughter born in Jamaica.

“The pirate thing has gone crazy since then,” she said.

The gang of pirates, wenches, mermaids and gypsies will be moving over to Harbor Island for Saturday and Sunday. On Friday night, pirates will sail into Grand Haven’s Bicentennial Park  and drop their anchor to kick off the weekend’s events.
 

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