By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
Arrr! Avast, ye mateys! The pirate festival returns to Fairrrrrrrrfax County’s Lake Fairfax Park this weekend! The now-annual Pirate Fest takes place Saturday, April 16, 2016. The event, first held in 2014, celebrates Virginia’s seafaring past with an all-day celebration in Reston. Guests can enjoy pirate music and storytelling, learn about global trade in the 18th century, play games from back in the day, and experience the life of a sailor first-hand at activity stations.
Activities include racing in the rainwater regatta (while supplies last), searching for bounty in a treasure hunt, parading in a costume contest, shopping at the marketplace, and enjoying sailing, science, and craft activities for all ages. Pirates Royale and John Durant will provide seafaring music. Guests also can take a ride in the company of a pirate captain on the Pirate Fest boat at Lake Fairfax (though these often sell out in advance of the event). Admission is $10 per person online and at the door and $4 extra per person for the boat tours. Pirate Fest is an all-day event, 11 am to 4 pm. Planning on going? See our useful tips below the flyer! Lake Fairfax Park is at 1400 Lake Fairfax Dr. in Reston, Virginia.
The pirate fest has grown in the past couple of years. Here are some tips for attendees, based on our previous visits:Keep your kids’ ages in mind: While event organizers have added more activities over the years, with this event the activities seem geared a bit more toward “bigger” kids, so your older kids may enjoy it more than preschoolers might. Remember the admission price is the same for people of all ages, kids included.
Plan ahead and register for your tour boat time: Tour boat rides are only available to patrons who have paid for Pirate Fest admission online or on-site. If you choose to do it on-site, arrive early and register as soon as you get in. At last year’s Pirate Fest we were very disappointed that we were not able to take a boat tour even though it was included in the admission. We had arrived well before the event ended but were told they were no longer doing the tours, though no end time had been announced for that. Maybe it will be different this year but even so, they note that “space is very limited” for the tours.
Prepare to be outside: This event was held out in an open field, and with the exception of a seating are for food and the vendor tents, there are few shaded areas, so remember your sunglasses, hats, and sunscreen (last year the event was on a brutally hot day in July; it’s now been moved to May so that should help!).
Enjoy the park: Lake Fairfax Park is beautiful and offers picnic areas, boat tours, and a carousel, so plan to enjoy the rest of the park while you’re there. Keep in mind, though, that the Water Mine water park will NOT open until Memorial Day weekend.
Image provided by Fairfax County Park Authority