Guests treated to pirate history, themed events
By Chris Fish
COCOA BEACH -- Yarg! Grab your first mate and climb aboard this year's Florida Pirate Con and the Cocoa Beach Pirate Fest.
This year's event will take place June 14-16 at the International Palms Resort & Conference Center in Cocoa Beach.
Guests will be treated to a rich presentation of Florida's history, as well as meet world-famous treasure hunters, historians, artists, authors and pirate enthusiasts, who will all share their stories and displays depicting pirate lore and never ending quests for gold.
"Florida has a rich, pirate history," said Kathy Gilbert, president of Pirates of the Treasure Coast. "There have been so many different shipwrecks, and this gives people a chance to talk first hand with people who have dived into and brought up some of the artifacts found on these ships."
At the Florida Pirate Con, organizers said guests will meet naval historian and undersea explorer Capt. Mike Daniel, who discovered a number of lost historical sites in Florida, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and the Carolinas.
He is most famous for discovering Blackbeard's flagship, the Queen Anne's Revenge.
There will also be various treasures and artifacts on display, as well as pirate-related memorabilia and merchandise for sale.
Artist Don Maitz, creator of Captain Morgan's spiced rum character, will also be in attendance.
In 1622, a Spanish treasure fleet lost eight of its vessels, each filled with gold, silver and other jewels and gems, off of the coast of the Florida Keys. The most famous of these ships is the Santa Margarita and the Nuestra Senora de Atocha.
Now, at this year's event, two men who worked alongside treasure hunter Mel Fisher during his exploration of the Spanish fleet will be on hand to share their experiences: Pat Clyne, president of the Institute of Marine Archaeological Conservation, and Spanish shipwreck authority Carl Fismer.
Along with the 2013 Florida Pirate Con, the second annual Cocoa Beach Pirate Fest, a free, family-friendly event, will be held in conjunction outside the Palms Resort.
Organizers said this event will feature Pirate-themed entertainment, arts and crafts vendors and play areas for children.
An adult Pirate Ball will also be held Friday from 8-11 p.m. Admission for the ball is $20.
The International Palms Resort & Conference Center is located at 1300 N. Atlantic Ave. in Cocoa Beach.
Event hours will be noon to 5 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Advanced tickets cost $5 per day and $10 at the door.
An advanced weekend pass cost $10 and is $20 at the door. A VIP pass is also available.
For more information, visit wwwfloridapiratecon.com or www.cocoabeachpiratefest.com.