Buccaneer Days returns to Esquimalt this weekend with the infamous wake-up call kicking off the festivities for this time-tested tradition, running May 11 to 13.
Bullen Park plays host to the activities including a pancake breakfast, live music, fighting demonstrations and the midway, while the parade will make its way down Esquimalt Road starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Buccaneer Days harkens back to 1966 when the Township put their own spin on May Day celebrations by turning it into a pirate party.
Now decades later, it’s an important gathering of the community, but also a fundraiser for various programs, says Sandy Rozon, secretary of the festival’s committee.
“Our money goes to help young people,” she says. “This year we donated to the Esquimalt Atom Smashers, who were competing in the [U.S.], and we donated to the fund for Esquimalt High’s new bus.”
Bob McKie, chair of the Buccaneer committee, has been helping throw the annual party for over 30 years and agrees it’s an important tradition for the naval community.
New this year is Blood and Iron, a group from the western martial arts school who will perform a sword fighting demonstration. And, the pie plate skydiving contest promises to be entertaining this year, with more parachuters and a bigger plane.
“They put on a good show,” McKie says. “It’s a challenge for them, but for us it’s fun to watch.”
As for the early morning run to signal the start of the festivities, affectionately called the “Wakey Wakey,” McKie says in years past he’s had kids request their name be called out as the caravan travels through their streets. Others aren’t so keen.
“I still get the odd phone call from people saying they’re going to sue the municipality,” he chuckles. “All I say is, welcome to Esquimalt.”