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W. Sayville pirate festival draws big crowds

Trevor Diamond, 7, and brother Kyle, 3, of

Trevor Diamond, 7, and brother Kyle, 3, of Islip Terrace, enjoy the Pirate Festival and Classic Boat Show in West Sayville. (June 12, 2011) Credit: Erin Geismar

Actor Johnny Depp's character, Capt. Jack Sparrow, has nothing on 3-year-old Kyle Diamond.

Dressed in striped breeches and a tattered blouse, Kyle played the perfect pirate at the Pirate Festival and Classic Boat Show in West Sayville on Sunday. The small boy even wore a wig of shoulder-length dreadlocks and a weathered three-point hat for authenticity.

“We’re pirate lovers,” said his mother, Kristin Diamond. “We dress up every day.”

More than 1,000 people attended the two-day festival held by the Long Island Maritime Museum this weekend, which included skits by pirate troupes, treasure hunts, live music and a pirate costume contest for children.

Kathleen Prokesch, director of marketing and special events for the museum, said the last festival was  in 2008 and the museum decided to bring it back to celebrate the release of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

Prokesch said the public loves the event and gets especially enthusiastic about the costume contest, which is officially just for children, but plenty of adults walked around the museum grounds on Sunday in their pirate best.

“The pirate culture is a unique one,” she said.

Gregory Serra, of Islip Terrace, who plays Capt James Bart Hawke when performing with Ye Pyrate Brotherhood, a Sayville-based pirate troupe, said Long Island’s long maritime history breeds pirate lore. He said of the most famous pirates with Long Island connections are Captain Kidd, who allegedly buried treasure on Gardiners Island before being tried and killed for murder and piracy (and posthumously found innocent); Capt.  Jones, of Jones Beach; and Serra said many pirates were thought to have participated in questionable activities in Freeport -- a tax-free trading port.

Serra said Ye Pyrate Brotherhood travels Long Island and New York State to appear at festivals, where they perform skits, teach history lessons and show off their costumes and weaponry.

“We all start as history buffs,” he said, adding that his interest in pirates started with the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. “But then I realized that real pirate stories were way more interesting than Hollywood pirate stories.”

Photo: Trevor Diamond, 7, and his brother Kyle, 3, of Islip Terrace, enjoy the Pirate Festival and Classic Boat Show in West Sayville. (June 12, 2011)

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