Pirate Invasion Weekend at the Oregon Renaissance Festival
We were asked to do 2 black powder demonstrations for the event, which was a daunting challenge seeing as how we’d never done that before. Between us we have only a few small arms, and no cannon, so we were at a loss as to how to make a demonstration interesting enough to engage the crowd. Enter our mate Splinter McCormack (Steve Black), pirate’s pirate and leader of the Brotherhood of Oceanic Mercenaries (B.O.O.M.). Steve offered to help us with the presentation, and, as he has years of experience doing this sort of thing, we asked him if he would lead it for us so all we had to do was shoot. Steve was gracious enough to introduce himself as a gunner on the Outrageous Fortune, and he enthralled the crowd with his seemingly unlimited knowledge of black powder and pirate lore.
Because of our relative dearth of weapons, Master Cockroach Blair (Bob Ramstead) loaned us 2 chests chock full of excellent weaponry to fill out our armory. This despite the fact that he was not able to attend the event. That level of generosity and trust are among the qualities that make our Cockroach a prince among pirates. Thanks in large part to the assistance of Splinter and Cockroach, the black powder demonstrations were a big hit with the crowd, and we crew were able to shoot our weapons and enjoy ourselves without having to worry about running the show or appearing under-endowed.
The real stars of this event, however, were the Outrageous Fortune’s officers and crew. The officers in attendance were myself, Quartermaster Randy, Bosun Joe Therogue, Log Keep and Blind Dog. Grapeshot was overseas, harassing the French, while Lost Soul and Calico were otherwise occupied for the weekend. Able Bodied Seamen on deck included Trubble, Jacob (the lion), Crunchy, Saucy Kim and our newest crewmember, Tiny (who has more than earned the right to choose his own last name).
Not only did the officers and available crew show up Friday to load the ship and set up in Hillsboro, then perform above and beyond the call of duty at the festival, but a small contingent (Log Keep, Bosun Joe, Randy, Crunchy and Tiny) packed up the whole mess and had it at my house before I could even get off work to help them. This was a huge and unexpected surprise, and one for which I’m eternally grateful.
If I weren’t too lazy to issue citations of merit for exceptional service, I would issue them as follows:
- Quartermaster Randy (with considerable assistance from Una the Mermaid) , for talking us up with the festival organizers and convincing them that we would be a good fit for their pirate invasion weekend. And for his herculean efforts in loading, hauling, setting up, tearing down and unloading our glorious pile of crap. And for his usual good sense and wise counsel, which I ever hold in the highest regard.
- Log Keep, for all his hard work in loading, unloading, setting up and packing, and for heading up the crew on Monday that did such an exemplary job of strike that I did not even have to be there. And for not scaring away any of the children who stopped by the camp for the treasure hunt. And for helping to ensure we all walked away from the black powder demonstrations with the same parts that we started with.
- Blind Dog, for helping to load and set up, even though he was not going to be able to make it to the festival. And for the loan of his trailer. And for the sausages. And for the hawser; always for the magnificent hawser.
- Bosun Joe, for his hard work in the loading, unloading, setup and Monday packing of our camp. And his earnest efforts to avoid violating articles 1, 3 and 4.
- Crunchy, for his help with setup and tear down, for all the fake rum, for the ice and for all the great ideas of how we could do it better. And for washing the dishes. Seriously, who washes dishes without even being asked?
- Tiny (whose last name is definitely not Johnson), our newest ABS, who, on his very first voyage with us, performed above and beyond the call of duty, lending his strong back to the loading, setup and teardown efforts, in addition to assisting us with the operation of the camp. And for being a good, right hand to the Captain, and for keeping his wits about him as he learned to safely fire black powder weapons. And for the pickled eggs and bread. And all this while suffering from the scurvy. His berth aboard the Outrageous Fortune is firmly secured.
- Saucy Kim, just for being Saucy Kim and ensuring that all the vitally important Saucy Kim duties were well attended to. And for cluing us in that the jousters’ lances were all made of balsa wood. And for charmingly engaging the children and the Queen. Especially the Queen, as we may now not be gibbeted in the harbor after all.
- Cockroach, for every and always being a stalwart friend of the Outrageous Fortune, and for the loan of his impressive armory for our demostrations.
- Splinter, the pirate’s pirate, who held the crowd in the palm of his hand while we fumbled with our weapons and cleared our numerous misfires. And for helping us devise and execute an excellent show with only a few paltry minutes of planning. It was an honor to have you aboard.
It was a glorious weekend indeed!