Ahoy families: Pirates take over local library

Krystle Wagner • Aug 7, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Children colored pictures of parrots and pirates at Loutit District Library on Monday morning.

The pirate crafts and coloring event kicked off the Michigan Pirate Festival in Grand Haven. Now through Thursday, the local library will feature activities such as Pirate Olympics, a puppet show, sing-along, storytelling and learning how to dress like a pirate.

After decorating her own pirate hat, 5-year-old Alexis Bakale focused on coloring a parrot. Bakale said she likes pirates.

The annual festival started after Larry Halverson joined the library in 2007. Loutit’s community relations coordinator said he looked for ways for the library to be involved in the community outside of its four walls.

Another reason for the pirate festival is that people have forgotten how to pretend and use their imagination, Halverson said.

Through research, Halverson came across pirates and the Brethren of the Great Lakes.

The first one-day event was held on a September day to coordinate with Talk Like a Pirate Day. It included a sail-in of pirates followed by a carriage ride to where the pirates interacted with families.

Following the feedback, Halverson said they brought back the event and expanded the activities.

Since Talk Like a Pirate Day falls during the school year, Halverson said they looked for a week during the summer that could accommodate the events.

As children entered the library for the Monday’s event, Jeanette Betts handed them “treasure”-beaded necklaces.

Betts, 28, developed her pirate persona — Nadira, the purple pirate — about 20 years ago. The Grand Rapids resident and Brethren of the Great Lakes member said she takes on that persona one week a year for the Michigan Pirate Festival to interact with families. Betts said she hopes they discover that pirates are “cool.”

“Be creative and express yourself however you want,” she said.

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