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Pirate Fest, June 2012 - Put-in-Bay, OH

Chapter 5th: Looking further into the activities of the afternoon including: Nothing whatsoever about the parade; The adult costume contest and what happened there; What Katelyn the boat girl and her husband Patterson do for fun and the Afternoon Battle between the pirates and the... er.. non-pirates.

There were several Pirate Fest events scheduled for Saturday afternoon. (You pretty much have to schedule all events for a Put-in-Bay weekend in the afternoon if you want anyone to show up. A lot of the tourists spend the morning ruing their choices of the night before. You see them around 11am, stumbling about, hoping to find scrambled eggs and coffee at the ready. Particularly coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.)

Pirates Duded up for the Contest
Photo: Michael Colosimo
The pirates turn peacock so they can compete in the costume contest.
One of the first events scheduled was the pirate parade. I completely missed this because I was busy tending to my historical surgeon duties. The next event scheduled was the Adult Pirate Costume Contest. I would have missed this as well, except I noticed the crowds surging 'round the stage.

Discovering that I was about to miss an important part of the event, I asked Carla to watch the surgical stuff (which she took quite seriously and even filled in for me) and I scampered off to get photos and observe the contest.

There were 30-some people in the contest. They all had to take the stage and answer questions from Ty in the first round.

Now, from my observations there are three basic types of people who enter this contest. The first are the Hollywood-style pirates who have put some thought into their outfit, but have not done much research on real pirates. The second are reenactors, most of whom have done an annoying amount of research. And the third are people who bought some stuff in the local shops who have almost no knowledge of pirates outside of random things they have been exposed to in the popular culture like eye-patches, hooks, skulls-and-bones and the ubiquitous word "Arrr!" (This is not to take anything away from any of these people - you don't see any photos of me on that stage.)

There is also a specialty group that I feel cheat by bringing their kids or grand-kids on the stage. This seems smart on the surface, because kids have that whole 'Aww!' factor, but it is, in fact, a mistake because I have yet to see any of these people even make it into the finalists group.

Capt. Jack in the Costume Contest
Photo: Mission
Captain Jack impersonator
M.A. d'Dogge in the Costume Contest
Photo: Michael Colosimo
M.A. d'Dogge taking bows
Casual Guy in Contest
Photo: Mission
Casual Guy rallying crowd
Guy with kid in ContestPhoto: Mission
Dragging the kids into the contest

Our primary interest in this Journal are the reenactors because the Journal is about us. (Yes, it's all about us.) There are a variety of reenactors who get into the contest, but I want to focus on two of them. First we have the peacocks, who like to get up in front of people and are comfortable doing impromptu acts. (These folks are almost always among the finalists.) One example is Matt Vincent, whom you see below. (His girlfriend Tammi is also there, although she does not strike me so much as being a peacock so much as a supporter of one. But it's always nice to have photos of her in here.)

Matt on Stage
Photo: Mission
Matt on stage
Matt takes a bow
Photo: Mission
A peacock on Matt's head
Tammi on stage
Photo: Mission
Tammi being interviewed on stage
Matt and Tammi in the crowdPhoto: Michael Colosimo
Matt and Tammi waiting

The other group are more curious to me, because I am one of them. These are people who are not naturally flamboyant or showy (at least from my observations.) Yet they enter the contest. Now I wouldn't do that unless I had a carefully thought out routine that I had rehearsed, so I give these folks a lot of credit, although they rarely make the final cut.

Then there is Billie. I don't really know what to say about him, except that he is none of the above and is in a category by himself. The Billie category. You never get the impression that he is acting, except when he gives you that 'Billie mugging for the camera' look. I will say I couldn't understand a word he was saying when he answered Ty's questions. His voice is sort of low and he tends to mumble a bit.

Bill Kroska on stage
Photo: Mission
Bill Kroska interviews
Jim Shipley takes a question
Photo: Mission
Jim Shipley takes a question
Bryan on stage
Photo: Mission
Bryan answers Ty
Billie pets his skunkPhoto: Michael Colosimo
Billie Beach pets his skunk

So those are the various types of contest entrants. Each was interviewed and asked about who they were and so forth. Shortly after the last interview, the finalists were chosen. They were then brought up and then interviewed again.

The finalists
Photo: Mission
Ty re-interviews the finalists: M.A. d'Dogge, Billie, Matt Vincent, Shannon and Dan Frey
The contest audience
Photo: Mission
The restless audience

Ty vamping for the crowd
Photo: Marci Kroska
Ty vamping again
The contest judges
Photo: Mission
The contest judge (What's going on in front?)
After this second round of interviewing, the judges start seriously judging. Following the previous years' form, this resulted in a long period where nothing of interest happened, leaving Ty up in front to try and entertain the crowd. (Ty is the primary event organizer and probably has a title of some form, but I always forget to find out what, exactly, that title is.)

I will say this for Ty - his patter has improved dramatically over the three years I've been watching this contest. He seems quite comfortable up there now he now tells passably funny, albeit still bad, jokes. So high marks to Ty for his role in the contest. (I think it helps that they basically dress him up like an exotic birthday cake - it gives him material (heh) to work with.) However, you author is not here to repeat someone else's passably bad jokes. No! He is here to make up his own passably bad jokes. So we must turn elsewhere while the judges deliberate.


I had mentioned Katelyn and Patterson in the caption to a photo in Chapter 1 and it is now time to talk about them in more detail. They were first spotted on Friday going by the campsite in their motor scooter that had been dressed up as a pirate ship. (Quite cleverly, too, as you see below left.) I considered that neat and everything at the time and then given it no more thought.)

Katelyn and Patterson at the contest
Photo: Mission
I spotted them again around the edges of the contest during the break. At first I thought they had been the pirate and the parrot last year. (This cannot be adequately explained in words. Follow the link if you want to see what I'm talking about.) So I went over and asked them. From their blank stares, I immediately decided that that was wrong.

They told me they had been married on Put-in-Bay three years ago and decided it would be fun to come back for the pirate festival in their homemade ship the Corrugated Scooter. (It never occurred to me to ask them what prompted them to make this ship, but then I dress up in 1700 style short pants and cart 75 pounds of otherwise useless surgical equipment all over the country, so you have to take that into account.)

Katelyn informed me that they had learned quite a bit when making the ship, however. For example, according to their intensive study, Gorilla Tape is vastly superior to Duct Tape in designing cardboard ships. So now we've all learned an important lesson, haven't we?

Katelyn and Patterson's scooter
Photo: Mission
The motor scooter dressed as a boat... er, ship
Patterson and the Rubber Chicken
Photo: Mission
Patterson & rubber chicken
Katelyn with Boat Wings
Photo: Mission
Katelyn and her boat 'wings'

For reasons that surprise even me, they decided to a) bring a rubber chicken as part of the Corrugated Scooter's crew and b) to tape the sides of the ship to Katelyn's arms like a pair of giant wings. Then they went around and asked people to pose as if they were sitting in the Corrugated Scooter with Kaptain Katelyn. (Kaptain Katelyn has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?) I believe Jim and I were among the first to join the Corrugated Scooter's 'crew,' so I feel quite honored. However, one can't help but wonder what they're going to do with all those photos? Put them on Facebook somewhere, no doubt, but what else? Blackmail? Personal amusement for cold Ohio winter nights? Proof of their many dependents for their tax forms? You just don't know!

Mission and Jim in the Cardboard Scooter
Photo: Mission's Camera
Mission & Jim in the Corrugated Scooter
The Sparrow group in the Cardboard Scooter
Photo: Mission
The Sparrows in the CS
Matt and Tammi in the Cardboard Scooter
Photo: Mission
Matt and Tammi join Katelyn's Krew

Finalists and Contest Crew
Photo: Mission
The finalists pose with Cheeky and the Cayman Islands' guy
Following that brief respite from sanity, the final stage of contest began. The three winners had been chosen. This was good because, while Ty can vamp better than he used to, the crowd was still getting restless. You never know what a restless crowd watching pirates might do. The gibbet wasn't that far away from the stage, after all...

Cheeky Actress/Lisa was last year's winner and thus a judge this year. She brought the list of names to the stage. Third place went to Shannon Gallatin, who would receive a trip back to Put-in-Bay in the fall. Second place went to Dan Frey (whom we met in May at the Santa Maria event as you'll recall) who also received a trip back to Put-in-Bay.

And the winner? Why, Billie, the man in a class all his own. He won a trip to the Cayman Islands, which was presented by the guy in the blue shirt who always comes up from the Cayman Islands to present the prize for the costume contest. Billie was given the mike and he gave a winner's speech, about which I can tell you nothing because I couldn't understand a fricken word of it. So the crew of the Forsaken took the Costume Contest prize to the Cayman Islands for the third year running. Huzzah!

Cheeky brings up the winners list
Photo: Mission
Cheeky and Mr. Cayman announcing winners
Congratulating Billie
Photo: Mission
Mr. Cayman congratulates contest winner Billie
Billie Beach, winner
Photo: Mission
Winner Billie speaking

Michael explaining the battle plan
Photo: Jim Shipley
Michael explains the quarterback sneak
Not too long after the contest was over, it was time to go to battle. Someone insisted that I be in it carrying my ever trusty clyster syringe. I had qualms about doing this because, while it is an instrument that is pretty humorous (to me) when used in Key West, I'm not certain it necessarily translates well outside of that environment. I finally decided that since Put-in-Bay calls itself the Northern Key West, I would give it the old college try. So I joined the folks listening to Michael explain the battle plan in the camp site.

Pirates involved in the battle
Photo: Lisa Dousharm
The motley crew of pirates in Saturday's battle
The plan was pretty simple, so it was a lot easier to follow Michael than it had been at the Santa Maria. ("'Get her!' That was your whole plan, huh, 'Get her.' Very scientific.") Plus Michael was the only one explaining, which really helped clarify things.

Once we had finished the battle plan, it was time for the pre-battle photo (at right). I must say, I really really like this shot. I've actually seen photos that are sort of like this from the American Civil War, so that helped too. I don't know Michael defends AT&T
Photo: Lisa Dousharm
Michael prepares to defend AT&T
that the Civil War photos were actually taken before a battle where the soldiers had been told they were all going to be dead at the end of it, but it was nice all the same. (Oh, wait. Did I spoil anyone's enjoyment of the upcoming sequence? Sorry, I'll try not to do that again. If you're really annoyed, feel free to skip ahead.)

We all trooped over to the end of the cordoned off area opposite the cannons. This was our first big error in judgment, I think. Facing a bunch of cannons loaded by Bob Gillmor - who likes to double charge the powder - is a sure recipe for all being dead by the end of the battle. (Oops, I mentioned it again. Sorry. Honestly.)

We stood around and waited for awhile. Battles - you know how it is when you're the attacker - you have to wait for the other side to get their guns loaded so that they can start firing the minute you surprise them by attacking. It did give us time to check our weapons. (The clyster syringe was loaded and ready.)

The defenders finally signalled Michael that they were ready, so M.A. d'Dogge stepped forward and announced our surprise attack. The defenders got their weapons pointed at us and the battle was afoot!

Pirates waiting for battle
Photo: Mission's Camera
The pirates milling about
M.A. d'Dogge launches our attack
Photo: Mission's Camera
M.A. d'Dogge yells "Charge!" or something
Defenders getting ready
Photo: Mission's Camera
The defenders line up on M.A. d'Dogge

M.A. d'Dogge down, pirates fire
Photo: Mission's Camera
M.A. d'Dogge down, Pirates fire. Details at 11.
I should explain at this point that I decided to give my camera to George/Ken. He thought it would be best to shoot from the defenders side of the field despite the fact that they usually have to just stand there and fire while the pirates do all sorts of silly things during battle. The problem with being a defender is that you can't advance beyond the cannon line for safety reasons. I guess George didn't think of this.

So there are lots of shots of the defenders standing there and firing, as you see below. Very proper. M.A. d'Dogge, being out in front and hollering, was the first one to go down. There is only one photo of this, but Michael managed to capture it with one of his little spidery video cameras that he always sets up. You also see me rushing up to try and reinflate him with my clyster syrings, but the cameras don't really get the sound very well. Or maybe it's my voice. I don't know. (It's probably for the best since I hate listening to the sound of my own voice. I can't possibly sound like that.)

Defender cannon firing
Photo: Mission's Camera
A dramatic cannon fire photo by George
Kate firing in front of the crowd
Photo: Mission's Camera
Kate defends the homestead
Defenders firing their muskets.
Photo: Mission's Camera
Defense! Defense! Defense!

One thing on the pirate side of which George did get several shots was Shannon. Most of them are of Shannon hiding behind the gazebo. I'm not sure if George was thinking he was capturing a series of photos like the ones I call Things Jay Does or what. If so, he missed the point because the Things Jay Does photos are (allegedly) funny because they are of Jay not really doing anything over and over again. Still, they are photos of the pirates in battle.

Shannon scouts the field
Photo: Mission's Camera
Shannon checking the enemy position
Shannon loads his gun
Photo: Mission's Camera
Shannon prepping his gun
Shannon fires
Photo: Mission's Camera
Shannon firing! At last, action!

The last cannon fire
Photo: Mission's Camera
A massive shot from one of the Gillmor cannons
As I mentioned, all the pirates were all scheduled to die with the last big cannon blast, so die we did. I think Bob Gillmor triple- or quadruple-loaded the cannon because it shook things up so badly that George was unable to get a steady shot of it as you see. Then we all died.

Now George came down the field to take photos. He took several pictures of us playing dead which I won't post here because it's just not that interesting to look at someone lying on the ground unless they're making a particularly horrible face or something. While horrible faces can be effective, it also means you have to hold that face until it's over. In fact, some people even managed, somehow, to die in such a manner that their hat fall over their face, conveniently shielding them from the sun. Amazing, that.

Of more interest were the photos of people looting the bodies. This is a time-honored tradition for pirate battles that has been going on since my very first reenactment in Key West in 2007. (I'm sure it's gone on long before that, even back to the actual golden age pirates, but I wasn't around then to witness it.) They even took the clyster syringe as loot, something they definitely deserved. Then we were all resurrected and, after sorting out our looted stuff, we returned to camp for a few more rounds of manning the displays.

The dead and wounded
Photo: Mission's Camera
One of many, many photos of the human carnage
Mary Looting the bodies
Photo: Mission's Camera
Mary looting the bodies
The clyster syringe
Photo: Mission's Camera
Matt and Mary show off the clyster

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