Friday, June 29, 2012
Pirates at the lake? Some are hoping so
If you're the type of person who looks forward to celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day in September (yes, there is such a day) or dressing up in pirate apparel for Halloween, you might want to stay tuned for Pirate Weekend at the lake.
The weekend of July 20--22 has been designated Pirate Weekend, and while the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce is not the sponsor, chamber officials said they are hoping area businesses will choose to host pirate-themed events, offer discounts or sell pirate-related items to customers.
"This, technically, is not an SML Chamber event. However, we are hoping the businesses around the lake will take ownership of the Pirate event with our guidance," wrote Annette Stamus, the chamber's marketing and communications manager, in an e-mail.
While the lake area is known for a number of annual events and festivals, the majority are held in the spring and late summer/early fall months. Those include the Tom Maynard Memorial Poker Run, Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival and Smith Mountain Lake Chili and Craft Festival. The fireworks displays during July Fourth appear to be the main activities during the height of summer.
The chamber announced the creation of Pirate Weekend in a recent e-mail to its membership and in a press release to area media.
The press release was written in the form of a mock decree from a fictional mayor who encouraged residents and businesses to get involved in whatever way they chose.
"Smith Mountain Lake normally teems with activity in the days and weeks prior to July 4, and this results in a great deal of positive local activity. The weeks that follow are ordinarily marked by a lull as Independence Day enthusiasm fades into summer's long, lazy days," stated the press release.
"There are no hard and fast rules for observing Smith Mountain Lake Pirate Weekend; however any parades, fireworks displays, mock water battles, etc. will require the usual advance permits and approvals. Please direct all inquiries to the mayor's office."
So far, some area businesses have expressed interest in participating, although nothing is concrete yet, Stamus said.
Ashley Stanley of Premier Appraisals first heard of the weekend-long event at a chamber board of directors' meeting last week.
"They haven't set any parameters. Each individual entity can create its own identity with a pirate theme," said Stanley. "It's a fabulous idea; we're going to have a lot of fun with it."
There's also a Facebook page -Smith Mountain Lake Pirate Days - and a website, www.smlpirate.com, dedicated to the event. On the website, visitors will have access to an electronic treasure map and links to the various activities and businesses that are participating.
"What we want to do is grow the event and have it every year so it gets bigger and bigger," said Stamus.
If your business is interested in participating in SML Pirate Weekend, contact Annette Stamus at the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce at email@example.com or call 721-1203. You can also visit www.facebook.com/smlpirate or www.smlpirate.com.