'It brings out the creativity in them'

Tribune photo/Cora HallDonna Grams dresses as Captain Jack Sparrow and reads a children's book while Stella Durham, right, looks on. 

The Michigan Pirate Festival continued its shenanigans Thursday morning with a “dress like a pirate” costume contest.

Four pirate actors from the Brethren of the Great Lakes hosted the contest and gave out prizes to the kids who participated. About 15 kids came dressed in their buccaneer best and did their best pirate impression for the contest.

Zach Feenstra, 5, came decked out for the contest with his grandmother, Chris Wines. This was the second year Wines brought her grandson to the week of pirate festivities. Zach said his favorite part of dressing up was his two swords.

“It just introduces him to some new costumes,” Wines said. “He likes to go to musicals and plays, and anything that’s connected with the library is a good thing.”

One of the pirate actors, Donna Grams, has been involved with the festival for 12 years and the costume contest is her favorite event of the week.

“It brings out the creativity in them and it’s fun for them,” she said. “It makes me feel like a kid and I love the kids.”

One of her pirate comrades, Stella Durham, said she has been teaching a “How to Dress Like a Pirate” class, teaching the kids how to dress historically or theatrically by shopping at thrift stores.

“They’ve really gotten really creative, and it’s not just about what they’re wearing, it’s their attitude,” she said. “They were really getting into it. That was awesome.”

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