International Talk Like a Pirate Day, an idea by John Baur and Mark Summers of Albany that evolved into a worldwide celebration on Sept. 19, was celebrated in Philomath. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

A band of pirates converged upon Marys River Grange Hall on Monday evening but not to pillage and plunder. Instead, this group arrived in the mood to party with the help of organizer Yvonne McMillan on a unique “holiday” created by a couple of Albany guys who call themselves “Ol’ Chumbucket” and “Cap’n Slappy.”

Yes, every year on Sept. 19, many folks around the world participate in International Talk Like a Pirate Day. McMillan wanted to come up with a fun activity for the community.

“I like to have fun and I like to share fun,” McMillan said as the evening’s activities were about to start. “I also think in this world of turmoil that if we can come together in positive ways without anything else getting in the way — just everybody coming and having a good time and not involving politics or whatever else is going on — and just enjoy each other and build community spirit with things that people like to do.”

Indeed, conversations about royal funerals, former presidents and natural disasters weren’t heard and instead, those in attendance listened to the singing and playing talents of Possibly Irish and participated in various pirate-inspired activities. Grandma Mermaid even took a group of youngsters and entertained them with stories and music. A face painter was also on site and a table of treats were available with proceeds helping the Marys River Grange organization.

Just inside the front door, folks could look at a chart on the wall and use their initials to determine what their pirate name would be for the evening. For example, the initials of B (first), E (middle) and F (last) would be Shipmate Scarlet O’Fish.

Yvonne McMillan shares pirate trivia with the crowd during Monday night’s Talk Like a Pirate event at Marys River Grange Hall. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

McMillan had been wanting to do something such as the Talk Like a Pirate event since her retirement as a Philomath music teacher in 2021.

“I’ve had this idea for a little while but how it all started is I retired and I knew I eventually wanted to do some volunteer work,” said McMillan, who also established monthly country dances and bluegrass jam sessions in addition to filling a seat on the Philomath Park Advisory Board.

The country dances and bluegrass jams were staged for the first time earlier this month — also at Marys River Grange Hall.

“The turnout on those were fantastic,” McMillan said. “I knew about Talk Like a Pirate Day and I thought that it would be so fun to do that in September — so I decided to do all of them and it’s been crazy but fun.”

Grandma Mermaid entertains with stories and music. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The country dances are on selected Fridays each month and the bluegrass jams occur on the second Wednesdays.

“We had 45 people come to the first dance and 35 people came to the bluegrass jam,” McMllan said. “So the first two have been very successful and we’ll do it all through the school year and take the summers off.”

Talk Like a Pirate Day will likely be coming back next year. McMillan said she’ll be looking for sponsors as well as volunteers.

Said McMillan, “If this is really successful, and if I can get one or two people to help me, then I would like to do it again next year.”

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.

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