By Bill Wolcott

OLCOTT — Attendance at the annual Pirates Festival was a bit sp-arrrr-ce Saturday afternoon after a morning of hard rain spread across Niagara County.

However, the sun came out and the folks who chanced the festivities had a good time on the rides, carnival games and with the invading pirates who entrained with buccaneer lore and fun facts.

“The rain stopped right when the parade started,” said Rachel Bucci of Lockport. “It was nice. It was pirate magic.”

The festival, which is sponsored by the Olcott Fire Department, resumes from noon until 6 p.m. today. Sunny weather is expected.

Bill and Rachel Bucci came with their two daughters, Ava, 2, and Julia, 4, and grandma. Julia wore a bunch of beads she got at the parade and intends to string them on her bed.

Jennifer and Jeff Usiak came with daughter, Stella, 6, and son, Nigel 4. Nigel was dressed in a black outfit with a skeleton decoration. “He wanted to be a boney man, a captain boney man,” Jennifer said. “We came from North Tonawanda and it was pouring. We said it will be fine when we get here and it was. We got here just in time for the parade and the kids love it. They have a good time just getting all the candy.

“They go on a all the rides to their hearts’ content. It’s a lot cheaper than Darien Lake.”

The rides at the Carousel Park are just 25 cents. The Usiak family comes to Carousel Park regularly in the summer and comes to the Pirate Fest every year.

“We like the parade. We like the pirate theme. The kids have a lot of fun. These rides are great for kids their age,” Jeff said.

Eydies Reimherr of Gasport and her daughter Tanya of Lockport celebrated their 10th straight year at the festival. Their pirate garb evolves every year and their parrots, Polly and Barnacle, ride along on their shoulders. Tanya’s parrot was named barnacle because it just hangs on.

“We’ve been doing it for 10 years. It’s our mother-daughter day,” Eydies said. “We like dressing up, being someone else and it’s warmer than Halloween.”

Capt. Bob Palmer of Evans was fully dressed and may have sailed on his pirate ship from Lake Erie where Evangola State Park has a pirate festival.

He wore a drycorn hat, carried a rope on his shoulder to hang the bad pirates from the yardarm, a pistol and a cat’n nine tails. That’s a whip sometimes called the captain’s daughter.

“When a pirate draws his cutlass, he never returns it to the scabbard unless it’s drenched in blood,” he said.

Dante Mancuso, 7, was interested in the captains story and asked Captain Bob how he was going to get the other pirate’s treasure.

David and Dante Mancuso of Batavia have the family boat tied up in Wilson. “We were afraid of the weather so we drove up,” dad explained.

The Mancuso family normally brings boat the boat and intends to sail to the festival today.

Phil Yusczyk and his family come to the festival regularly from Buffalo. Matthew Yusczyk, 14, had the most beads. “I used to dress up but grew up out of fantasy,” he said.

There were not many players at the carnival games and few riders. Ahmad Bibi, 9, of Niagara Falls, did go in the wind glider. “When I went on it was real scary,” he said. “It looked like you were about to fall. You had to hold on down on the bars and it takes so long that it hurts your chin.”

He liked it, though.

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