Avast, ye mateys!
Get your sea legs on and prepare to partake in some grub and grog, dance a jig to a chantey or two and “Party like a Pirate” at The Keene Sentinel’s sixth annual Choice Awards Celebration next Friday, June 14, at Keene Ice.
All who arrrr ready to celebrate all that’s great about the Monadnock Region are invited. Certificates will be given to the Choice Award winners from all categories. Attendees are greatly encouraged to come dressed in their best pirate or Caribbean-style attire. If you’re in need, Neen’s Costume Emporium in Keene received a shipment of pirate costume items in honor of the occasion.
The buccaneer-themed fun includes live music by Mango Grooves Steel Drum Band and “DJ KK” Kris Kleine. JimEddie’s of Keene, Choice Award winner for best catering in the region for the second year in a row, will provide a Caribbean hors d’oeuvres menu (think jerk chicken and jambalaya) and rum specialty cocktails will be featured at the full cash bar.
The ice arena will be transformed to resemble a pirate ship, complete with 15-foot serpent tentacles — made from newspaper, of course — and a ship’s helm for photo ops. The helm will be provided by the New England Brethren of Pirates, an entertainment troupe led by Brandon Berry, who will play the character Captain Jack Sparrow of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film series.
The troupe is made up of professional costumers and re-enactors. Through “mischief, play and entertainment,” as written on the website, The Brethren helps support several organizations.
“We do improv, we mingle and do photo ops,” said Berry of the Brethren. Photos are paid for usually by donation. The Brethren is part of Feature Presentation, which Berry and his wife, Sadie, founded in 2016. In addition to the Brethren, the company provides a variety of “immersive photo ops” brought to life from television and movie screens.
The Brethren was born in 2012 from a “Star Wars” group that did charity events. While there are hundreds of members, there is a core crew of about 30 who attend events.
“Basically, anyone can come and play if they want to be a pirate,” said Berry. Volunteers can also help with set pieces, transportation and other needs.
It takes Berry about an hour to get into full make-up and costume — and into character. There are many women in the Brethren — not all of them playing wenches.
“There are a lot of strong female characters,” he said.
In addition to dining, dancing and networking, attendees can enter a 50/50 raffle and participate in a silent auction featuring memorabilia from yer favorite New England sports teams. Every ticket holder will also receive a complimentary swag bag.
While awardees will be recognized, organizer Gina DeSantis wants everyone in the region to know they are welcome. DeSantis hopes the pirate-themed event encourages members of the public to embrace their inner swashbucklers and bring their mateys along to party in Jolly Roger style.
“This is a community event,” she said.
Walking the plank optional.
Party Like a Pirate, The Keene Sentinel’s sixth annual Choice Awards event, is next Friday, June 14, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Keene Ice, 380 Marlboro St. Tickets are $22 and available at TicketElf.com or $25 at the door. A portion of the proceeds benefits Monadnock United Way.