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Central Ohio village creating first-ever PirateFest, complete with pontoon treasure hunts and more

Central Ohio village creating first-ever PirateFest, complete with pontoon treasure hunts and more

Jack McLaughlin

You arrrrrrrr not ready for the festival set to kick off in Buckeye Lake this weekend. Sorry, we had to.

Tomorrow, the village of Buckeye Lake with come alive with pirates, mermaids, treasure hunts and more as the first-ever Buckeye Lake Pirate Festival will be held. The event will take place from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., with a home base at the Harbor Community Center (renamed Port Royal as a nod to pirate culture for the festival). A sneak peak for Buckeye Lake Locals will also take place from 5-8 p.m. today.

“My wife and I moved here six years ago. There’s an event every year in January called Winterfest, and just for fun, my wife and I would dress up as pirates, just going around to restaurants and bars having fun,” Kelly Collins, who created the festival alongside his wife, Nina Collins, said. “Everybody loved it. Everybody was blown away by our costumes.”


The Collins, who previously owned and operated the Midwest Haunter’s Convention and boast more than a decade of experience managing conventions, eventually started a Facebook group for Buckeye Lake pirate meetups, and the festival came naturally out of this.

Festivities for the first annual Buckeye Lake Pirate Festival kick off with a ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. tonight (“Pirates don’t use scissors, so we’ll have swords for that,” Collins said), which includes a marketplace with 60-plus pirate themed vendors, local makers and artisans.

This marketplace will be open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday. Additionally, 40 different businesses have created their own treasure chest with at least $150 worth of goods inside. Half of these will be hidden on land, and half in the water, and visitors will receive maps to help them locate the festival’s treasure.

Additionally, tomorrow’s festival will feature pontoon and motorcycle rides, mermaids and much more. The event is free to attend.

“Whenever we went out as pirates, people in Buckeye Lake would stop us for photos and to talk to us. People out here are seem to love the costumes, they seem to love all of the pirate stuff,” Collins said.

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