Nine-year-old Grace Kleppe of Spring Lake looked up from her coloring long enough to make a quick comment about pirates.
“I like how they fight,” she said before concentrating on just the right color to make the buccaneer jump off the page.
Grace and her sister, Ella, 5, were at Loutit District Library on Monday morning for the Crafts and Coloring program, the first of a weeklong series of events for the Michigan Pirate Festival.
With the theme “Pirates through the Ages,” the festival will include crafts, a special story time, small arms discussions, a pirate carnival and a mermaid sing-a-long.
While most of the events during the week are going on in or around the Grand Haven library, 407 Columbus Ave., activity heats up Friday evening when the festival moves to Harbor Island. The pirates sail into downtown Grand Haven between 6 and 7 p.m.
Admission of $5 per person will be charged Saturday and Sunday to enter the festival on Harbor Island. It is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.
Island activities will include street characters, encampments, children’s activities, demonstrations and entertainment. Children’s activities include arts and crafts, story time, puppet theater, Mermaid Lagoon, costume contests, treasure hunts, pirate games, face painting, Sparring with Sparrow and candy pulling. Demonstrations will include pirate trials and punishment, Roman combat, a catapult, small arms, and a cannon.
Merchants, a gift shop and food vendors will also be on the island.
Ian Burley, 5, said he saw the pirates in the Coast Guard Festival Grand Parade on Saturday.
“They’re my favorites,” the Grand Haven boy said. “They were awesome.”
Glenn Deutsch of Kalamazoo brought his family to Grand Haven for vacation this week. He watched Monday as his son, Henry, 4, worked on a pirate flag at the library.
“We’ll probably be here every day,” Deutsch said. “He’s just the right age for this.
Library Director John Martin said the Monday afternoon story time was well attended.
“We had 400 treasure maps rolled up, but they all disappeared between the two events and people coming in with their kids,” he said. “Now, we’re busy making more treasure maps."
A treasure map may be picked up at the library any day during the festival.
The map leads children to 17 downtown merchants where a collectible pirate trading card may be obtained. Anyone who picks up all 17 cards will be entered in a drawing for one of the grand prizes being donated by Mac Kite Co.
Here's the schedule of free events for the rest of the week:
Pirate Carnival — 11 a.m. (ages 3 and up): Program Room A. Join the pirates as Nadira leads everyone in a host of pirate games.
Gypsy Raqs Belly Dance Class — 4 p.m. (ages 4-7), 5:30 p.m. (ages 8-13), 7 p.m. (all ages): Program Room A. Learn how to dance like a gypsy. Musical show hosted by Gypsy Raqs.
Sparring with Sparrow and Friends — 11 a.m. (ages 4-7), 1 p.m. (ages 8-13): Program Room A.
Pirate Theater — 5:30 p.m. (all ages): Program Room A. Watch the puppet pirates perform.
Mermaid Sing-a-long — 7 p.m. (all ages): Program Room A. Adella the Mermaid leads this sing-a-long featuring music favored by the mermaids.
Discussion Series: Dress Like a Pirate — 11 a.m. (all ages): Program Room A. From rags to riches, Admiral Morgan teaches you how to dress like a pirate and where to get garb that fits any budget.
Pirate Crafts and Coloring — 1 p.m. (ages 3 and older): Program Room A. Colorful fun for the young powder monkeys!
Piratical Music by Uneven Ground — 7 p.m. (all ages): Chinook Pier. The traditional Irish band Uneven Ground goes piratical in song and garb. Bring your lawn chairs. In case of inclement weather, the performance will be moved to the library’s Program Room A.
Pirate Story Time — 11 a.m. (all ages): Program Room A. Pirates tell some of the best stories, and they have picked out some fun ones to share with you.
Sea Shanty Sing-a-long — 1 p.m. (all ages): Program Room A. Learn some of the songs pirates used to sing as they worked and sing along with them.
Pirate Sail-In — 6 p.m. Pirates sail in and drop anchor in downtown Grand Haven for a time of pillaging and plundering. Once ashore, the pirates will go to Harbor Island for a preview of what the weekend has to offer. Lots of booty for the young mates.
All of the events and activities at Loutit District Library are free and open to the public. For details, visit the library's website at loutitlibrary.org, or the Michigan Pirate Festival website at brethrenofthegreatlakes.com.