ROCK HALL — Come by land or come by sea, but come dressed in pirate attire for the 12th annual Pirates and Wenches Fantasy Weekend.
Events will be held throughout Rock Hall from Friday, Aug. 9 to Sunday, Aug. 11. For a full schedule, visit rockhallpirates.com.
The festival is still hosted by its founders Suzanne Einstein, who also is president of the Greater Rock Hall Business Association, and Mark Einstein. This year they have partnered with more nonprofits and local businesses to host some of the events.
“It became so big, and people wear out too, so in order for the festival to continue, it had to be restructured,” Main Street Rock Hall Vice President Laurie Walters said. “The idea came up that if we divvy up the work among the nonprofits it would not be as much for people to deal with.”
Main Street Rock Hall will be organizing all the events that are held on Main Street. Walters said that means the organization is responsible for vendors, entertainment and events there.
“We really hadn’t had that in the back of our minds, but we realized that one of our goals is to encourage economic health in Rock Hall and to let Pirates and Wenches die would certainly be a negative,” Walters said.
Walters said she expects a bit of a learning curve as this is the biggest event Main Street Rock Hall has helped to host since forming last year.
Suzanne Einstein wrote in an email Wednesday that having Main Street Rock Hall host the events on Main Street “seemed like a logical fit” as the nonprofit aims to support activities and businesses in the downtown area.
Events on Friday begin with a Rum Tasting from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Inn at Osprey Point. Tastings are $20, with “other grub and grog” available.
The tasting will be followed by a Sea Shanty Sing-A-Long at 7 to 10 p.m. at Bay Wolf Restaurant. Attendees can expect to see some “pirate performers.”
Walters said Rock Hall Yacht Club will host this year’s Decorated Dinghy Contest and Poker Run, Saturday. Judging begins at 11 a.m. in the Rock Hall Harbor with the Poker Run beginning at noon.
Awards will be presented during the Beach Party at 3 p.m. Walters said the Rock Hall Lions Club again this year will be sponsoring the party, which begins at noon and runs until 4 p.m.
Also at the beach, there will be a Kids Treasure Hunt beginning at 10 a.m.
Saturday’s events are rounded out by Tiki Time from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Wheelhouse Restaurant and the Buccaneers Ball from 7 p.m. to midnight at Waterman’s Crab House.
“It takes a village as they say, and I think it’s working,” Walters said.
Walters said Sunday might be the best time for for locals who want to avoid the crowds. All events Sunday are presented by Main Street Rock Hall.
There will be a Treasure Hunt from noon to 2 p.m. on Main Street. Then at 12:30 p.m., there will be a Talk Like a Pirate contest at the Main and Sharp Street Stage.
The last event of the festival is the Kids Costume Contest at 2:30 p.m. in the Gazebo on Main Street.
“I think when the pirates and wenches show up who have been here in the past, they’re not going to notice a change in structure,” Walters said.
Throughout the festival, there also will be raffle tickets available for purchase with prizes donated by residents and local businesses.
“There will be two drawings so you’ll have two chances to win — one drawing at the Beach Party and one drawing at the Buccaneers Ball,” Einstein wrote in her email. “They are just $5 each or five tickets for $20 and there’s an estimated value of $4,000 of treasure in each one! You don’t have to be present to win, but we’d like you to be.”
Walters and Einstein said one of the greatest appeals for the festival is its location in Rock Hall.
“People like to be on the water and the chance to be able to visit a beautiful place that’s so close (an average drive time of two hours for most) but feels so far away,” Einstein wrote. “Many visitors also tell us how they love the ‘vibe’ of Rock Hall and the fact that the entire town gets involved. Plus, people love a costume party. They can escape from the stress of their day to day lives into a world of fun and fantasy for a weekend.”