Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Ontario Pirate Festival?
The Pirate Festival is our once-a-year event when Marden Park in Guelph is transformed in Dry Bluffs, our Pirate Shantytown. There's shows, crafters, food and drink - and pirates! It's a full day of fun for the whole family.

Sounds Great! When is it? Where is it?
The Pirate Festival takes place at Marden Park in Guelph: 7368 Wellington Road 30 (there's a Google map on our Information page), this August Long Weekend (Sat. Aug. 3rd, Sun. Aug. 4th, and holiday Mon. Aug. 5th, 2024). We're open all three days from 11am to 6pm. (And there better not be any problems with T-rexes or Ninjas this year!)

How much are the tickets?
Ticket prices are listed on our Information page.
Please note: we do not have online ticket sales - tickets are only available at the gate. You can pay by cash, debit, or credit card (but the cash line is always the shortest and moves the fastest).

Where do we park?
Marden Park has a large parking lot, and parking is free - free for the taking!

What's there to do? Will my kids be bored? Will I be?
We've got a whole Kidd's Area (overseen by our own Captain Kidd) full of free games and activities for your young buccaneer. There's wandering Pirates to talk to (and a Mermaid and a pirate Dragon, too). Plus the Viking and Pirate encampments where your small swashbuckler can learn about Viking and Pirate life, and earn their official Pirate certificate, hand-signed by Captain Charity Ann Rackham.

Plus we've got four stages of continuous entertainment with juggling and magic, falconry, live musicians, and swordfighting. There's over 45 merchants and craft vendors with handmade goods of leather, silver, wood, iron, and cloth - it's a perfect opportunity to do a little early (really early!) holiday shopping.

We promise, there's plenty to do at the Festival - trust us, we're Pirates!

Is There An Age Limit?
Not at all - The Pirate Festival is a family event that's suitable for all ages.

Having said that, the Captain's Keg (our Saturday evening event) is a loud n' rowdy party for ages 19+ only. ID will be required to purchase drinks at the event.

Captain's Keg? How's that gonna work?
The Festival closes at 6pm - we clear everyone out. Then, once the park is clear, you rowdy pirates, scoundrels, rougues, and scallywags will buy yer Keg ticket at the gate and head to the Thirsty Parrot Pub. And then the music and carousin' will commence.

Is there Food at the Festival?
The Captain's Mess serves burgers (veggie ones too!) and dogs, fries (and tornado potatoes) plus our extremely popular massive turkey legs. There's soft drinks and water available, plus beer and cider in the Thirsty Parrot Pub (ID required). And other snacks and tidbits (kettle corn, sno cones, dill pickles) can be had as well, if'n you know where to look - the full list of Foodstuffs can be found on our Marketplace page.

Have dietary restrictions or just don't trust our cooking (hey, we're Pirates - we know how to use kitchen knives, at least) then you're welcome to bring in your own picnic lunches. Please clean up after yourself - just because we pillage and plunder doesn't mean we're litterbugs.

What about the weather?
There will almost certainly be some.

We're Pirates! We laugh at weather! The festival will go on, rain or shine - shows, games, activities, you name it. There are no refunds due to inclement weather.

But just because we're notorious cut-throat sailors doesn't mean we don't have your comfort in mind. Our craft merchants will be in tents. All audiences spaces will be under tents (good for both shade and keeping you dry). And the food and drink area is under a sturdy covered pavilion. We've literally got you covered.

Plus, because our pirates are a little glam, we're pleased to provide our visitors with misting tents - come cool off with a fine ocean spray of water as you walk through. It's just like being back on the ship, without all the sea-sickness.

Can I Bring My Pet?
Sea-dogs (and parrots!) are welcome, as is any animal you can keep on a leash and under control. Remember that the Pirate Festival is a busy place with children, so animals that are skittish or not good with crowds may feel safer at home. (Also you should try and make a point of introducing your doggo or any other pet to Captain Zoltan, because he would like that very much please.)

And of course, please clean up after your pet - we don't want the whole village smelling like a poopdeck.

(Note that animals found locked in vehicles in the parking lot will warrant a call to the authorities. Pirates love their pets.)

Do I have to come in costume?
You don't have to, but it you did that'd be spectacular. Ain't got no costume? Buy one at the Festival.

Can I Bring Weapons?
Weapons that are appropriate to your costume are welcome (no modern weapons, please). All weapons must be "peace-tied" in place (swords must be secured with rope or zip-ties so they cannot be drawn).

No live munitions or working firearms please. Weapons will be inspected at the front gate or by security at any time while you're at the festival.

Are there ATMs?
We have no ATMs but virtually all merchants (and the festival food, drink, and ticket booth) will accept credit and debit cards. We also (happily!) accept cash, but will not accept personal cheques.

Is the Festival wheelchair accessible?
The Festival is held in a natural park setting, on grass. Wheelchairs and motorized wheelchairs are allowed. We have disabled accessible parking and disabled accessible portable toilets.

Festival patrons with accessibility needs requiring a support person may bring one, free of charge.

Can I leave and come back in?
Why would you want to leave? But if you must... yes, you can leave and re-enter through the front gate with a hand-stamp.

What's your policy on smoking?
If you're actually on fire, we understand.
There are two (and only two) designated smoking areas inside the Festival (but you can plunder and pillage anywhere you like). Smoking outside the designated areas will incur the wrath of the Captain himself - keelhauling, walking the plank, you name it.

What if I need medical attention?
There will be a first-aid station at the Festival. We will also have a misting tent set up to help deal with the heat.
If necessary, a selection of hook hands, peg-legs, and eye-patches will be available.

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