She said Pirate Fest was "one of the best" local events for children.

"That's why we love Havre de Grace," she said. "They always have something going on, and it's usually kid-friendly."

Pirates on the Bay

Valley noted the term piracy refers to any act of theft on the water, that "pirates are merely thieves on water."

Piracy continues on the world's oceans today, with the most well-known incidents being carried out by Somali pirates seizing vessels moving past their coastline.

"What you see celebrated here today, it's the golden age of piracy," Valley explained.

Piracy was common in the Americas during the 1600s and 1700s, and pirates known as privateers were often employed to harass ships by colonial governors or nations such as England, France, Spain and others which were ferociously competing for territories in North America and the Caribbean.

"There was piracy in Maryland," Valley said. "Edward Teach, better know as Blackbeard, was known to come up the Chesapeake."

Catholic and Protestant colonists would often act as pirates against each other in the Bay, he said, and said actions in the so-called Oyster Wars of the late 19th century could be considered piracy.

The Oyster Wars occurred in the lower Chesapeake Bay, when volunteers acting under the authorization of Virginia's then-Gov. William E. Cameron boarded boats equipped with guns and attacked and captured several oyster dredgers allegedly operating illegally in Virginia's waters, according to the web page of The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Va.

"There was piracy in the Bay, on the waters," Valley said.

Ciera Fisher, director of the Susquehanna Museum, said "the first recorded act of piracy in Maryland" took place on Garrett Island, "right across from us."

Fisher pointed out the wooded island in the middle of the river, visible from the grounds of the Lock House and crossed by the Route 40 Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge and the CSX railroad bridge from Havre de Grace.

In 1635, Maryland and Virginia colonial officials were competing to secure islands in the Chesapeake, with the Native American inhabitants serving as allies of both sides.

Virginia official William Claiborne had secured Kent Island in the mid-Chesapeake, and one of his agents, and his brother-in-law, John Butler, led the capture of a Maryland ship and its cargo near Garrett Island in the upper Chesapeake that year, detained the captain and the crew and brought them back to Kent Island.

The account of the Garrett Island attack was detailed in the book "Pirates of Maryland: Plunder and High Adventure in the Chesapeake Bay," by Mark P. Donnelly and Daniel Diehl.

"This seizure was the first documented act of 'Pyracie' on the waters of the Chesapeake Bay," the authors wrote.

Fisher said that event, plus "pirates being popular, especially after Pirates of the Caribbean [movie franchise]," led organizers to choose the pirate theme for the fundraiser.

Organizers 'delighted'

Each Pirate Fest Weekend event is run by a chairperson, and the weekend has been put together by a committee of volunteers and museum board members.

Terri Dezell, chair of the pirate encampment, said organizers were "delighted" that the weather cooperated Saturday after heavy rains Friday.

"We're very delighted with, not only the weather, but also the families who have come today to visit," she said.

Dezell said organizers met their attendance goals for the pub crawl and 5K race, with 175 taking part on the pub crawl and about 480 in the race.

She said attendance for the pub crawl was higher than last year's.

"[We're] very appreciative of the bars and restaurants here in town that helped us with that," she said.

Dezell also thanked the re-enactors for their contributions.

"We're extremely appreciative of our pirate re-enactors, because without them, there is no Pirate Fest," she said.