Boyne City, MI

Hunt for Treasure During the Boyne City Pirate Fest!

Tracy Stengel
Pirates swarming the mayor of Treasure Town, USA.Image via the Boyce City Pirate Fest Facebook page.

Arrr, mateys! The Boyne City Pirate Fest is August 11–15, 2021 and will be full of swashbuckling fun!

Scott MacKenzie, head of the Boyne City Pirate Fest committee, told me how the festival centers around a real pirate from the 1800s. “They called her ‘Sadie the Goat’ because she like to headbutt men in the gut before stealing their money, and ultimately commandeering their ship. She began her illustrious career in New York, but we like to believe she and her posse sailed through the St. Lawrence Seaway into the Great Lakes and ended up in Boyne City, where she buried her ill-gotten gains.”

That’s where the festival comes in. It asks us to imagine a bunch of modern-day pirates invading Boyne City aka Treasure Town, USA and trying to find Sadie the Goat's buried treasure.
Just a couple of fun-seeking pirates!Image via the Boyce City Pirate Fest Facebook page.

Beginning Friday, August 6th, treasure maps of Boyne City will be available at Boyne City’s “Stroll the Streets”, Boyne City Public Library, and the Boyne City Chamber of Commerce. Use the map to guide you on an exciting treasure hunt! You’ll need to gather clues from various Boyne City merchants for a chance to win a treasure chest of prizes! You’ll have the whole week leading up to the festival to visit the participating businesses and collect all the clues. Then, you will be in a drawing for the grand prize!

On Wednesday, August 11th, the Pirate Fest kicks off with a Pirate Pre-Invasion Party at The Weathervane in Charlevoix. Enjoy live entertainment, great food, and cold drinks while listening to the Pirate Hoard plot their invasion. The tickets are a $20 donation and seating is limited. You can purchase them at Central Drug Store in Charlevoix or Home Again Resale in Boyne City.

The Pirate Fest holds its Pirate Queen Pageant on Thursday August 12th at Boyne City Lanes from 6 PM — 9 PM. The pageant is open to wenches 16–101. They will all receive a Pirate Medallion, and the top three participants will be in the parade. The winner will receive a new computer! MacKenzie assured me no special talent is required. “They’ll perform an easy Pirate Dance, answer a randomly picked silly Pirate question, and be judged on their costume. They’ll also say why they want to be the Pirate Queen.”

Who wouldn’t want to be Pirate Queen? (I’m trying out an eye patch right now.)
A pirate poised to invade Treasure Town, USA.Image via the Boyce City Pirate Fest Facebook page.

The Pirate Invasion happens at 7 PM on Friday, August 13th! You can decorate a boat and join the crazy flotilla or witness the pirates disembarking at Sunset Park and begin searching for treasure. The Remedee will be performing live music from 8 PM — 11 PM. Stigg’s Brewery will be selling refreshments as the pirates mingle and tell tall tales.

The Pirate Fest Parade is at 10 AM Saturday, August 14th and begins at Friggy’s SOBO Pub and winds down Lake Street, ending at Veteran’s Park. From 11 AM — 6 PM is the Cap’n Kid’s Fair where kids are the captains! There will be exotic animal shows, a treasure hunt, crafts, and face painting. Get a complimentary guided raft ride from 12 PM — 6 PM. The Pirate River Raft Adventure includes mermaids, pirates, and water battles. You can ride with Terry Baker and Jordon Valley Outfitters or bring your own raft to join in the fun!

There will be live entertainment all day in Sunset Park beginning at noon. There will also be entertainers throughout Treasure Town, USA. The Kid’s Pirate Costume Parade is in Old City Park at 1 PM, followed by a Kid’s Pirate Costume Contest.
An adorable pirate.Image via the Boyce City Pirate Fest Facebook page.

Don’t miss the Battle of the Boyne River Saturday at 3 PM. The townsfolk will gather in Old City Park and lead a march to drive the pirates out of their city. “The battle on the Boyne River is always a good time,” MacKenzie said. “We like to call it ‘the greatest battle that never happened.’”

Beginning at 6 PM on Saturday, any scallywag 21 years old or over can join in the Peg Leg Tavern Trot. For a $20 donation, you will receive a commemorative T-shirt and mug. You can get your tickets at the Pre-Invasion Party at The Weathervane, the Pirate Queen Pageant at Boyne City Lanes, or at the Pirate Fest Merchandise Booth.

The party winds down Sunday with an 8 AM — 12 PM brunch at Sunnyside Café. You can join the Pirates for their last meal before they ship out of town!

The Boyne City Pirate Fest has something for everyone and is sure to please everyone in your family. If you’ve attended a Pirate Fest in the past, tell me about your experience in the comments!


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Tracy explores the world with a positive eye, an open heart, and a sprinkling of humor. Without laughter, she would be lost.

Onsted, MI

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