Shipwreck Isle – part of the DMO’s annual Festival of the Sea held to promote the Island’s seafaring history and attract early summer visitors – took place at Appley beach in Ryde on Sunday (28th June).
Famed for its golden sands, Gothic-style tower and long promenade, Appley was invaded by pirates who came ashore and entertained the crowds with cannon demonstrations, sword fighting and set up the Pirates of the Caribbean village. One of Europe’s top Jack Sparrow lookalikes, Simon Newton, who doubled for Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, was at the festival for photographs and stunt-action sword fights.
Younger visitors were invited to dress up in their swashbuckling outfits for pirate storytelling, tug-of-war and treasure hunts.
Funded and co-ordinated by the DMO, Visit Isle of Wight believes the event has the potential to attract huge numbers of visitors from all over the world – especially those who like dressing up in flamboyant pirate costumes and enjoy great entertainment!
David Thornton, CEO, and Visit Isle of Wight, said:
“I am delighted that VIOW was able to secure Shipwreck Isle for the Island and we are excited about the obvious potential that the crowds yesterday indicated, and hope to be in a position to confirm next year’s dates by the end of July.
“VIOW and our partners Wightlink, have done an excellent job in making sure this event has been marketed and promoted to off-island visitors in Portsmouth and Southsea. Wightlink also contributed hugely in the pre-event planning by making sure that all the ‘Pirates’ were able to travel over with their various gear”.
Mark Persad, Head of Marketing at Wightlink, said:
“It’s great that so many people came to support the event and enjoy a free day of fantastic swashbuckling fun. This was a brilliant start and we very much hope the pirates will return for a second year. Once again, it’s proven that the Isle of Wight is the place to be for great days out”.
The event was organised by Roger Crouch, who ran the Hastings Pirate Festival for five years, which became a huge draw for local people and visitors alike. Roger said:
“We created a true family day, which I am sure will grow to be an annual event for the Isle of Wight.
“My thanks to all that took part, the majority of which gave their time freely to participate, such as the Pirates of the Caribbean and the Living History groups. Huge thanks also to Visit Isle of Wight, Wightlink and John Hawkins and his team at Beach Events & Solutions, who co-promoted and helped event manage the day”.