Avast, me hearties! The 8th annual Pirate Festival — one of Northglenn’s most beloved events — returns Sept. 15 and 16 to the Northglenn Recreation Center and EB Rains Jr. Memorial Park. …
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Avast, me hearties! The 8th annual Pirate Festival — one of Northglenn’s most beloved events — returns Sept. 15 and 16 to the Northglenn Recreation Center and EB Rains Jr. Memorial Park.
Highlights include Friday’s adult-focused Pirate Night and Saturday’s family-friendly, full-day Pirate Fest. Admission is free to both events, with food, drinks and other pirate-themed goods available for purchase. Costumes are encouraged on both days, and prizes will be awarded to the best-dressed adult and child pirates. And a total of seven Celtic-themed bands will play on the main stage during the two-day event.
The Pirate Festival launched in 2015 as part of a larger city effort to draw people to Northglenn. And while the annual Food Truck Festival — held each May and launched as part of the same effort — draws more people, the fall festival’s frivolous nature endears it to many.
“This event has become very loved,” said Northglenn event specialist Ashley Garst. “It’s unique for the north metro area, and it’s my favorite to work on. We really work to keep everything on the pirate theme, and we get all kinds of people who participate, including some very enthusiastic kids.”
Crowning a new king
And adults. Including 2022 Pirate Festival King John O’Dell, well-known in pirate circles as Commodore Wyrm. O’Dell earned the crown last year after completing a series of challenges on social media and at the 2022 event.
A festival king, who can be either male or female, is chosen on the opening night of each Pirate Festival.
O’Dell admits he had an edge. He leads a 450-member pirate social club called the Colorado Crimson Marque.
“And it probably doesn’t hurt that I look like a pirate,” said O’Dell, who has long, salt-and-pepper hair and a matching full beard.
But it wasn’t just looks and connections that won him the title. Candidates are required to complete a series of tasks both before the festival, and on Pirate Night.
“I posted several pictures and videos of me doing piratey things, including one of about 30 of us invading the clock tower in downtown Denver, all in full pirate regalia,” he said. “The day of the pirate ball, they also had a couple little challenges between the finalists. Most of my competitors were more than a few years younger than me, so the old guy was a little tired by the end.”
Tired, but victorious. O’Dell was awarded a festival bar tab and took home the Staff of Bones, a scepter-like traveling trophy that he will pass on to this year’s king.
In addition to the coronation, Friday’s Pirate Night will include music on the Main Stage, sword fighting, dinner, and a variety of treasures.
During Saturday’s Pirate Fest, visitors can choose from a variety of food and booth vendors, including pirate drinks like rum, mead, and beer. Crafts, bounce houses, historical information, piratical demonstrations and character appearances are also on tap.
At 1 p.m., the annual Cardboard Boat Regatta sets sail on Webster Lake. Teams of children and adults will compete for prizes as they test the seaworthiness of crafts created from cardboard, duct tape and paint.
Both Garst and O’Dell encourage newcomers to the Pirate Festival to don their best pirate duds and join the fun. They’ve even provided instructions for dressing and talking like a pirate.
“Somebody who’s never been to this event should definitely come and enjoy the spectacle,” Garst said. “The people watching is amazing. And if you’re into it and wiling, we always encourage you come and speak your best pirate.”
It’s also good practice for International Talk Like a Pirate Day, which occurs this year on Sept. 19.
The Northglenn Recreation Center and EB Rains Jr. Memorial Park are at 11701 Community Center Drive.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.