Event organizer Yvonne McMillan enjoys getting into character. Come this Friday evening, she’ll answer to “Royal Pirate Queen Scallywag” and if you get involved in a conversation, be prepared to abandon everyday language in favor of pirate lingo.
As a poster promoting the event reads, “Ahoy matey, ’tis time to Talk Like A Pirate.”
The second annual Talk Like A Pirate will go from 6-8:30 p.m. Friday at Marys River Grange Hall, which is located at 24707 Grange Hall Road. Admission at the door is $6 for adults and $4 for youth under age 18.
So, where did McMillan’s pirate name come from?
“When I was a choir teacher, I did themed concerts at the end of the year and one year, it was ‘Oceans Away,’” she said. “We did pirate songs and we all got pirate names.”
International Talk Like a Pirate Day traces its roots to 1995 with an idea hatched by Albany residents John Baur and Mark Summers. The parodic holiday celebrated each year on Sept. 19 gained widespread notoriety in 2002 when humorist Dave Barry wrote about it in his nationally syndicated column.
Among the changes for this second Talk Like a Pirate party was to move it from a Monday night to a Friday night.
“Fifty people came on a Monday, which I thought was really good, but we’d like to have more,” McMillan said.
The event will feature various activities, including a pirate costume contest for ages 12 and under with prizes to be awarded. There will also be a Talk Like a Pirate contest for all ages with prizes. A pirate-themed quilt, which McMillan made herself, will be raffled off.
Possibly Irish, a band known for its Celtic performances and regular appearances during the summer season at Enchanted Forest, will return this year to the grange stage.
Nick’s: Soul Food, which offers authentic Southern soul food, plans to bring out its food truck.
The evening’s activities will feature plenty for those who bring youngsters.
“We’re going to have a treasure hunt for the kids and the storytime in the junior room … we’re adding some crafts this year,” McMillan said. “And also, there’s a gal who’s going to teach one-line dance to a sea shanty — the ‘Wellerman,’ which has been popular the last few years.”
Sea shanties were work songs onboard ships that were sung to rhythmically coordinate various tasks and “Wellerman” became an internet sensation during the pandemic.
The event will also feature a pirate-themed kids corner with things like cards, puzzles, coloring and a “fish pond.”
McMillan had hopes out of the first year of securing sponsors to help cover some of the event’s expenses. She reported that Miller Timber and JD McGee stepped forward with their financial support through sponsorships.
Fundraisers have helped cover the cost of the band.
“We had a line dance over at the rodeo grounds … the Philomath Frolic and Rodeo board let us use the grounds at no cost,” McMillan said. “Then we started a bingo night once a month at the grange — we could connect to this because part of the money that we raise from bingo is going to the music fund at the grange.”
Philomath-based Marys River Grange No. 685 established the music fund to go toward special events such as Talk Like A Pirate and concerts, she said. In fact, the grange will host a concert with Gabrielle Louise, Darryl Purpose and True North Duo at 7 p.m. Sunday.
“Money we raise at the door and the quilt raffle will go to the prizes that we give and then any money beyond that goes to the grange,” McMillan said.
Talk Like a Pirate is just one of McMillan’s activities. She also organizes country line dancing and bluegrass jams each month — those starting up again after taking a break over the summer. The Country Line Dance events usually run from 7-10 p.m. on the first Friday of the month (the first one took place last week) and the Bluegrass Jam/Workshop is offered on the second Wednesday with one coming up at 7 p.m. Sept. 13.
Coming up this winter, McMillan will debut a new event that she’s calling the “Philomath Christmas Sing-a-Long.” It will take place at 7 p.m. Dec. 9 at the Marys River Grange Hall.