If the infamous swashbuckler Black Bart were around today, he might change his motto (“A merry life and a short one”) just to be sure he’d get the chance to storm the seventh annual Portland Pirate Festival, which takes place Sept. 1-2, in historic St. Helens. An annual gathering of scallywags and sea-loving curs, this celebration of pirate culture is one of the largest in the world, with hundreds of marauders laying siege to the quaint Oregon town every year.
Of course, there’s plenty of grog available at the event — there’d be mutiny without it! — with Kraken Rum pouring and Oberon’s Three-Penny Tavern traveling setting up shop with wenches and belly dancers authenticating the party. But as bawdy as these buccaneers can get, the festival is all-ages fun, with sword fights, cannon shows, re-enactments and scheduled performances for kids in Scupper Monkey Island. Bandits under 2 years old (and all parrots) get in for free.