Last weekend I had the great pleasure of attending the Port Radisson Pirates Rendezvous in Sacramento California, and it was a blast! The festivities began on Friday night with a meet&greet party in the hotel’s bar and back patio, and after a slow start it quickly got to kicking with dozens of well-dressed pirate enthusiasts. We did have to share the bar with some non-pirates (some of whom were more keen than others on sharing barspace with pirates), but for the most part a fun and festive atmosphere was maintained. Entertainment was provided by the Brotherhood of Firebenders (an interesting name, being as this group seems to be 80% female), who spun flames out on the back patio first, and then spun glowy things indoors a bit later (silly California fire codes.) But primarily the attraction this night was fellow pirates chatting, drinking, and dancing (especially when someone finally convinced the house DJ to slip some Pirates Charles into his mix.)
Saturday brought us the lion’s share of the festivities, with the Rendezvous officially starting up at noon. However, a wildly impressive number of pirates showed up at 5:30 a.m. to help promote the event on the local morning news – some 20 or so pirates looking wide awake, enthusiastically yelling “yo hos” and engaging in bloody (remote control) ship to ship combat in the hotel fountain. Some then opted for breakfast, although it was back to bed for me.
Later that day the event started in earnest. Seven or eight vendors were lined up inside the hotel, hawking everything from custom shirt cuffs to buttons to drink and eatware. Outside on the side patio featured a couple more vendors as well as some ongoing entertainment. Captain Jack Spareribs offered attendees the chance to fire monkeys out of a cannon while the TAG Pirates had a range of games including pirate Jenga, some sort of pirate tug-o-war (very fun, but I forget the name), and even Dread Pirate. The Pirates of Emerson were also onhand to make everyone delightfully uncomfortable with their bizarre creepiness, to only be outmatched by the creepy comments of Tip Hat the Stiltwalker (I believe at one point he tried to coerce me to “sit on his lap” in a thick scottish brogue [shiver].)
The daytime activities were fun, but after a few hours they did show some signs of wearing thin for those of us planning to spend the entire day onsite. But at 2 p.m. the TAG Privateer Treasure Quest began, and this did marvels to keep everyone occupied. Initially I was hesitant as to whether a treasure hunt would actually be any fun, but once I received my copy of the map and started decypering the clues, the hours quickly flew by. The Treasure Quest map was full of devilishly fiendish clues and codes, some of which I readily figured, and others that had me pounding my own noggin – and yet even at its trickiest the Quest remained fun rather than frustrating.
Saturday evening brought the event’s central attraction, the Pirate Ball. Hundreds of pirates gathered together to eat, drink, and dance the night away to Skip Henderson and the Startboard Watch, Paradoxx, and additional music spun by yours truly. MC duties were ably managed by Yellowbeard, with me as acting captain when Beard was otherwise disposed (most likely gutting Spaniards.) The lineup was a little bit glitched, with Skip playing far too late in the evening, and myself (if I may be so bold) not getting nearly enough floor time after dinner (when pirates were actually ready to dance.) But these quibbles aside, it was a fine time. Even Paradoxx, an entirely non-pirate band, did an excellent job of reaching out to their unusual audience, and expertly got the crowd moving and dancing. The evening concluded with raffle prizes and silent auction winners. They had an incredible array of goodies for this purpose, and being as the Port Radisson Pirate’s Rendezvous is a benefit for the MS Moms, hopefully this means they were successful in raising funds for a great cause.
The Port Radisson Pirate’s Rendezvous was a very good time. And I have a feeling that with the right efforts from their planning committee, 2011 stands in an excellent position to be an all-out extraordinary time. They have the perfectlocation for a true pirate convention, great local talent, and definite drive. I really can’t wait to see what they begin to cook up for next year!