People who like to say “aargh” and “ahoy, matey” or “shiver me timbers” like a pirate will be able to do so this weekend without the worry that others will roll their eyes at them.
It’s time for the fifth annual Water Fest in Colonial Beach.
Sally Adams, the event coordinator, said talking like a pirate will be expected at the event that runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.
“If they don’t talk like pirates, they might get a hard time,” Adams said.
The Pirate Place at the festival will be filled with “guys with tattoos, hats, facial hair and lots of bling” telling stories, Adams said.
“The Pirate Place is a 30-foot tent enclosure hung with banners and scarves and things like that made to look like a classic pirate hideout,” she said.
Water Festwill also include an inflatable area with bounce houses and a giant inflatable water slide and pirate mini golf with $3 entry fee for children.
In a first this year, there will be contests for the best dressed pirates, mermaids and mermen at 3 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Categories include the best pirate costume, the best couple costume and the best mermaid-merman costume and a group prize for four or more in costume, Adams said.
Prizes will range from a two-hour tour to National Harbor to kayak rentals, a photo shoot, restaurant gift certificates and an overnight stay at the Riverview Inn.
There will also be storytelling with a conservation theme.
“We also have a couple of mermaids and they’re so good. They’re so fun. They tell stories related to keeping the water clean, which is great,” Adams said. “We’re really trying to push the idea of keeping the river clean. That’s a big theme for us.”
People will have the chance to help create a giant sculpture made from trash collected along the Potomac River banks.
“It’s going to be a large, 9-foot sculpture made out of river trash,” Adams said. “It’s going to look like a giant jellyfish.”
There will also be a mermaid sculpture, also made of river trash, she said.
Vendors selling hot dogs, Thai food, ice cream, tacos and fudge, as well as artists selling pirate- and mermaid-themed merchandise, will be at Water Fest.
Festivalgoers who are feeling adventurous can get competitive on the river. “At 1 p.m. both days we’re having kayak races. We’re hoping people will race dressed a pirates. That would be super cool,” Adams said.
The town has recently put in a wheelchair-access ramp so people with wheelchairs can get to the beach, Adams said.
Water Fest, which draws 3,000-5,000 visitors each year, is sponsored by the Colonial Bank Chamber of Commerce with special thanks to Coldwell Banker Elite and Northern Neck Chevrolet.