Pirates at the Library Festival to dock Sept. 18

By: Laura Newell Telegraph Staff Writer
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It’s that time again to don your pirate hat and weigh anchor at El Dorado Hills Branch Library. The crew of the Dauntless Privateers, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing maritime history alive, will be sailing into the fourth annual Pirates at the Library Festival. “This is an important event because it’s National Library Card Drive month to gear people into our library,” said Carolyn Brooks, youth services librarian for more than three years. “It’s also an opportunity for students and adults to learn about their maritime history with an all hands-on experience.” Tim Riggins, 50, of Elk Grove, performs as Captain Mc Laren at the festival and helped create the organization, Sacramento Historical Maritime Educational Organization, Inc., also called the Dauntless Privateers. “We teach maritime history with pirate improv with audiences all around us,” Riggins said. “We try to take improving to a different level and actually teach people something.” Riggins said his love of the sea started when he was in the coastguard for 13 years, ranked as a petty officer first class. “We all have a nautical background interest and we like playing,” Riggins said. “I got involved in Renaissance and saw a void in this maritime era, so we decided to build a ship (the Dauntless) and start this organization. We wanted to have some fun and also teach the schools something.” Their 80-foot pirate ship will anchor early Saturday morning, near the library and a pirate village of blacksmiths, craftsmen, storytellers and their brethren. The festival is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at the library on 7455 Silva Valley Parkway in El Dorado Hills. The day includes sword fighting, archery, catapult demonstrations, face painting, free games and activities. The Blarney Band will perform live music and pizza, caramel corn, hot dogs and cold drinks will be available for purchase. Festival entrance is free with a library card. The two-day festival begins Friday with private field trips for local schools closed to the public. Miles Rowe, 8, went to the festival last year with his second grade class at Oak Meadow Elementary School in El Dorado Hills. “It was really fun,” Miles said. “They showed us sword fighting and this guy taught us what they used for armor and how they stole stuff. My favorite part was the cannons firing.” Riggins said working with students brings a different perspective to pirate improv than adults. “I really like working with the kids because they have the most open imaginations,” he said. “They can buy into the ship being anchored in a parking lot, and have fun with it.” Riggins said the organization teaches how the ships worked with a walk through time from the early 1580s to the 1800s in navigation tools with props. “We will have a 4 pound theatrical prop cannon to teach kids how to handle the cannons,” Riggins said. Brooks said children and parents are encouraged to wear pirate costumes. “I think it’s a lot of fun,” said librarian Nora Bertotti, 51, of El Dorado Hills. “What I like about it is the school field trips and we have a variety of things to show the public. The pirates are definitely coming.” Riggins said one of the most important aspects of the event is to bring awareness to public libraries. “The main thing we do is to promote the library system as a whole and drive people to get their library cards and use this service,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and we will always get a group who will want to get involved.” For more information, call 358-3501 or visit ] * * * KNOW AND GO What: Pirates at the Library Festival When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18 Where: El Dorado Hills Branch Library, 7455 Silva Valley Parkway, El Dorado Hills Cost: Free with a library card Information: 358-3501 or