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One Woman's Opinion

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Fall Festivals in Full Swing

Urbanna, Va.— The fun of fall festivals is here. A few weeks ago there was the Holly Point Art and Seafood Fest in Deltaville and this weekend is the 51st Urbanna Oyster Festival. This column will cover Holly Point and next week will be concerned with the Urbanna fest.

by Mary Wakefield Buxton
It was fun to pack the car with visiting daughter Liz and two grandchildren, and head for Holly Point Art and Seafood Festival in Deltaville last month. All signs were go. Everyone was happy (not necessarily a given) as we squeezed into the sporty Jaguar. The weather was a perfect Indian summer day, and we didn’t have too far to drive—Urbanna to Deltaville—to enjoy the good show.

As soon as we were parked at the Deltaville Maritime Museum, we started to think crab cakes. Wow. What was that long line snaking through the big crowds? People waiting for crab cakes and fish sandwiches served up by Bill’s Bistro, that’s what. We decided we had better get in line if we wanted any lunch.

While in line I listened to the happy comments from people in front of me. They had just purchased a wooden, hand-painted sign in the shape of a crab to hang on their new retirement home in Middlesex County. “We can’t wait to move here for good!” the lady said. Her sign read: ”Happily Ever After.”

We were so hungry in the slow moving line, we sent someone over to the lobster bisque booth to get some soup to hold us over. They also offered shrimp gumbo. Judging by the size of the crowd waiting for food that day, Bill’s Bistro could not have complained about business. The crab cake was delicious.

Next was a visit to the Maritime Museum, which also was packed with visitors. After that, we strolled through the many colorful exhibitions of artists and artisans displaying their beautiful work. Some local exhibitioners that I recognized were Bev Hardin, Wanda Hollberg, Jean Mannell, Kathy Noffsinger, Pam Waldron and Anne Goodman Wilcox.

Suddenly we heard a big boom. Horrors! What was that? Were we under attack by terrorists in downtown Deltaville? No. It was just a pirate firing a cannon. We live in dangerous times. Now the pirates of the world have organized and are taking over. No one is truly safe anywhere anymore, not even in Deltaville. Still, a little danger is exactly what we wanted, so off we scurried, wild with joy, to the pirate cove to see the Blackbeard pirates.

At the pirate cove, we met some very strange- looking people in costume complete with maniacal looks in their eyes; a group of ferocious looking souls that had settled in along the bank of the creek in a so-called pirate encampment. Sure enough, there were even booths selling pirate wares; every type of pirate clothing one could possibly want: belts, swords, sashes, cutlasses, hats, wigs, boots and pantaloons all could be purchased to outfit either yourself or your grandchild in full pirate regalia.

We noticed pirate women wearing extremely low-cut gowns with a lot of chest exposed. No treasure, I assumed, but maybe so, but certainly lots of chest.

“Hey Grandmother, have you ever heard of ‘Scallywag School?’ ” a grandchild asked. No, I had not. But such lessons were held for the young or young at heart to indoctrinate all who were interested into the art of being a pirate. Next was a program on proper pirate armory. I never realized pirates had so many choices of weapons, including cannons, muskets, cutlasses, hand guns, sabers and knives.

“Pirates are good guys,” one of them told us. “We stole from the rich and gave to the poor, kind of like Robin Hood.” (Or politicians.)  The reason pirates were deemed especially “good” was because they stole from the British and resold the goods to “the poor” without paying taxes to England.

Very clever reasoning. The pirates helped poor people evade taxes in the same way drug dealers might be considered “good,” I supposed, who also sell goods on the street free of taxes. It all depends on one’s definition of “good.”

We learned how pirates chased after merchant ships that were generally unarmed and easy to outrun. They first shot out the sails, boarded, killed and pillaged at will, before making off with the stolen goods.

It was hard not to get excited about pirates. The lore seemed especially exotic with a skeleton hanging from a tree behind us and a flag bearing that noble seal; a skull and crossbones waving from a pole.

Rumor had it that the local Blackbeard pirates were going to do battle with some ferocious Pennsylvania pirates who had invaded our area for the weekend. We never saw any outright battles, although we were hoping for one. We did meet the daughter of Susie Collamore, however, who was amongst the visiting Yankee pirates.

After pirate mania settled somewhat, it was pleasant to stroll along the handsome new dock area (Pierwalk) on the waterfront and see the restored “F.D. Crockett” along with other interesting watercraft, including a skiff that had been built at boatbuilding camp and was in the water and taking on water like a sieve.

“Ha! Look at that boat, it’s about to sink,” some land-lubber remarked.

A graduate of the Deltaville Maritime Museum Boat Building Camp, I was quick to inform him that all wooden boats leak when they are just put into the water until the wood swells “properly.”

“Oh,” the fellow said before escaping. Maybe he didn’t want to hear how wooden boats leak until their planks swell. I saw lots of Deltaville personalities, including Liz Perkins, Evelyn and Andy Perkins, Raynell Smith and, of course, the irresistible Kaptain Krunch. Some folks from Urbanna were in the crowd, such as local author Larry Chowning who was signing copies of his books.

Good job, Deltaville, and see you next year! In the meantime, be sure to join me next week for my rundown of the Urbanna Oyster Festival. ©1002

posted 11.06.2008

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