Young pirate enthusiasts gathered in the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library Monday to celebrate annual Talk Like A Pirate Day.
“Arrrrgh!” and “Shiver me timbers” could be heard all around the bustling Children’s Activity Room during the afternoon. Jack and Henry Rosborrough, 4 and 2 respectively, of Saratoga Springs, took on their roles as pirates with gusto, jousting with each other, snarling and even breakdancing mid-scuffle.
The holiday began with two grown men in Oregon in 1995, according to a 2006 Gazette article. “John Baur (who goes by Ol’ Chumbucket today) and Mark Summers (known as Cap’n Slappy) resorted to pirate lingo to get through a particularly painful exercise regime in 1995. It was so much fun that they decided to create a holiday in honor of the occasion,” the article said.
About 25 children ages 5 to 11 attended the annual event at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. Pirate’s Booty, the somewhat healthier version of Cheetos, were open for the taking. Little Trevor Kern-Mochon, 4, of Crescent, sang “Row, row, row your boat” and took the role of pirate so seriously he didn’t mind the scratchy feathers from the parrot on his shoulder. “I want to make another sword!” he yelled with a smile as his mother led him out of the library.
The children had the opportunity to create paper parrots with colorful feathers to stick in their shirt pockets. Aluminum foil-covered cardboard swords waved in the air fiercely. A whopping 60 little pirates showed up at a storytime event earlier in the day.
Marybeth Hassett-Murphy, a librarian at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library’s Youth Services Department, has been organizing this event for nine years. Her daughter’s birthday falls on Sept. 17, just two days before the pirate holiday. “One year she said 'It’s too bad my birthday isn’t on the 19th - then we could all talk like pirates,’” recalled Hassett-Murphy.
When Hassett-Murphy first started playing around with idea of celebrating Talk like a Pirate Day, she said Pirates of the Caribbean was in its heyday. “There are just so many opportunities and so many things to do related to pirates. You can play dress up, you can read stories, you can make swords and parrots,” she said.
A few years ago she said the library hosted an intergenerational event where 50 families came to watch "The Princess Bride." She has also organized library-wide treasure hunts for the annual celebration. “The clues are extraordinarily subtle,” she said. “You might not think that there is a whole lot of education going on with activities like these, but there is.”
Next year will be the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library’s 10th year celebrating Talk Like A Pirate Day. “We’ll see what happens,” said Hassett-Murphy, shortly after jousting with 4-year-old Kern-Mochon.
For those who aren’t satisfied with just one day of pirate talk, Facebook offers an English (pirate) language setting you can enjoy all year round.
Reach Gazette reporter Cady Kuzmich at 269-7239, [email protected] or @cady_kuz on Twitter.