(Grand Cayman, February 25, 2019 - The Pirates Week Festival office held its annual Appreciation Reception on Saturday night (February 23rd) celebrating the tireless work of those who provide support to help the festival office celebrate the traditions of Pirates Week while sharing Caymanian culture with visitors from all over the world.
“For more than 40 years, Pirates Week has provided fun, fantasy and history to hundreds of thousands of locals and visitors alike who seek to experience a festival like no other in the Caribbean and to create long lasting memories,” said Pirates Week General Manager, Melanie McField.
The appreciation event, held by the seaside at the Royal Palms Beach Club, offered food and drink and words of gratitude to the dozens of volunteers who worked behind the scenes to make last years’ Festival a success.
Awards were handed out to volunteers and sponsors committed to keeping Pirates Week as one of the main events on the Cayman Islands calendar.
The Tourism Attraction Board’s (which manages the Pirates Week Festival Office) Director, Patrick Thompson offered words of appreciation. “Volunteers like you are soldiers; sort of a covert army joining hands to make Pirates Week, our national festival, the best and most unique festival in the Caribbean,” he said.
Long Service awards were given to Cayman’s most well know pirates; Orneil “Captain Gun Powder Wes” Galbraith, Duke “Big Cannon Jack” Tibbetts and Darvin “Captain Black Terrence” Ebanks for their decades of involvement with the Festival.
Mr. Galbraith was acknowledged for his 20 years of dedication to the event; he is the “Captain” of the international pirates krewe, “Las Tortugas Pirates” which encourages membership and travel to our shores to participate in the annual festival. Ms. McField also publicly acknowledged Mr. Galbraith’s willingness to assist in all areas, from building props and event planning, to travel to the sister islands and his sustained promotion of the Cayman Islands, its people and culture through his work.
Duke Tibbetts was awarded with 30 years of long service to the Pirates Week Festival for his willingness to travel abroad to promote the festival at the Gasparilla celebrations in Tampa, Florida as well as his involvement locally beginning in his teen years. He is a member of the “Bloody Bay Buccaneers” pirate krewe and has put in countless rehearsal hours over the years swashbuckling with his fellow pirates and Red Coats at the annual landing pageant.
Veteran pirate “Darvin Ebanks, was honoured for his 41 years of service to the people of the Cayman Islands through his lifelong efforts to promote his beloved Cayman Islands through Pirates Week. Mr. Ebanks is one of the original pirates having played an integral part in each festival since its inception in 1977. He has travelled to Japan, Latin America and the USA in support of the Festival. He is the “Captain” of the “Bloody Bay Buccaneers” pirate krewe and has appeared in numerous magazines, photos, television specials and other promotional media.
“We acknowledge and appreciate that the foundation of the Festival's success is built upon individuals such as Darvin, Duke, and Orneil and their commitment to the Festival. Congratulations on your combined 90 plus years of service!” expressed Ms. McField.
“Thank you for the many years of service and dedication to making our National Festival, Pirates Week the success that it is today,” she added.
Kate Crawford received the A. Mark Ebanks Memorial Volunteer of the Year award, and Parade Marshall and Lead Volunteer Marcus Gremli, was also honoured for his selflessness, skill and years of continued service.
Sponsors were also honoured for their support and continued efforts to help in creating a festival at the community can come together in celebration of heritage, culture and four decades of pirate fantasy.
Minister of Culture, Hon. Dwayne Seymour was in attendance to receive the award for sponsoring the National Song Competition and Chief Officer for the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Stran Bodden represented Deputy Premier and Tourism Minister, Hon. Moses Kirkconnell in receiving recognition for the ministry’s annual financial support.