Pirates in Paradise raises money for food bank
Pirates in Paradise “Curse of the Coral” raised more than $1,000 for the Harry Chapin Food Bank on Saturday.
The event, held at Cape Harbour, featured a boat parade, costume contests, a treasure hunt and activities for children, live music and a spiced rum challenge. Residents living along the parade route were encouraged to decorate their home for a chance at a prize.
Funds were raised for the charity through a 50/50 raffle, T-shirt sales and donations.
Deborah Dupuis, one of the organizers, said close to $1,100 was collected for the Harry Chapin Food Bank. Proceeds from the event, which has been held for a handful of years on the Saturday before Halloween weekend, have always gone to benefit the food bank.
“For every dollar raised, they get seven dollars worth of food,” she said.
Though the attendee turnout was good, there were fewer boats in the parade this year. According to Dupuis, the event typically draws at least 20 boats, but there were only 10 vessels Saturday. She cited not having the event in 2009 as one reason for the decrease.
“We missed a year,” Dupuis said.
Two women unfazed by the drop in participation were Pine Island residents Pat Hynds and Diane Nivens. Dressed in pirate garb, one woman donning an eye patch, the women said it was their first time attending the event.
“It looked like a lot of fun,” Nivens said. “It gave us a chance to play dress up.”
Hynds called the event fantastic, and said her favorite boat was the children’s one.
“It was just unique,” she said.
Nivens agreed, but added that all of the participants did a good job.
“They all get an ‘A’ for effort,” she said.
Asked what they were enjoying most, the women said the “grog” and the costumes.
“The wenches were real trashy,” Hynds laughed.
According to event organizers, this was the first year that the event featured a treasure hunt for children. Participants were given a Cape Harbour promenade map to find the treasures, which included candy and other goodies.
Paul and Tammy Auger brought out their children Saturday to search for the booty. Dressed from heard to toe like tiny pirates, 6-year-old Alison and 3-year-old Meagan appeared to be having a great time, especially after finding all the candies and treats.
“They love treasure hunts,” Tammy Auger said.
This was the family’s first time attending the Cape festivities, but they have been to the pirate festival on Fort Myers Beach. She said the Cape event “sounded like fun” to them.
“They love it,” Auger said of her daughters. “They’re having fun.”
Asked if she would change anything for next year, she suggested that the treasure hunt take families from store to store to get a treat rather than following a map all over. Auger said this would get parents in the stores to look around and may lead to some purchases.
Auger added that the event could have been promoted better.
“I don’t think enough people know about it,” she said.
The Joint, at 5785 Cape Harbour Drive, Unit 108, was the major organizer of the event.