Ahoy mateys! Have ye been to Pirate Fest Las Vegas? The only correct answers are “Yes” and “Not yet.” Pirate Fest is an annual pirate-themed festival in Las Vegas for those who aren’t yet familiar. Since 2012, Pirate Fest has been a popular attraction among Steampunk, Excalibur, Mermaid, Fairy, and Pirate enthusiasts. It’s a family-friendly weekend festival with games, shows, many food options, and shopping.
The event occurred at Craig Ranch Park in North Las Vegas. If you’ve never been there before, this park is enormous. It’s 170 acres with an amphitheater and a skate park. Unfortunately, we parked on the wrong end and had a long walk in the hot sun before reaching the festival’s entrance. More signage in the parking areas would have helped prevent this.
Pirate Fest tickets
We didn’t purchase tickets to Pirate Fest ahead of time, so I’m not sure if a deal would have been available. However, buying tickets on the spot for two adults, three kids, and one senior cost us $70 for the day. We were only there on Saturday, but the festival was happening on Sunday as well. We had the option of purchasing weekend passes, although I don’t know how much more expensive that would have been.
We arrived at 1:00 pm and went strong all the way until 6:00 pm. By the time we got back to our car, everyone was exhausted. I commented that we hadn’t had a day like that since our Disney World trip in May 2021. Of course, there was no way we could have done it, but the festival was open until 10:00 pm on Saturday night. In fact, I noticed plenty of people arriving as we were leaving. It seemed to be turning into more of an adults event as the sun was beginning to set. The costumes of the people showing up late were definitely starting to head in a different direction than what we had seen throughout the daytime.
Food at Pirate Fest
I was impressed with all the different food options. I don’t eat meat, so my options were somewhat limited, but I got a kick out of seeing people walking by eating a whole turkey leg. We stumbled upon a tent from Can’t Dutch This and enjoyed their vegan bratwurst and sweet ‘n spicy Amsterdam fries. The layout of Pirate Fest is stretched out across a large portion of the park, and there are food tents all throughout the festival. Just keep walking if you don’t see what you’re looking for right away. Chances are you’ll find something soon enough.
For those who are more interested in liquid calories, there were plenty of options for you too. Just beyond the entrance was an ID checking station. Once you had a wristband proving you were of age, you could purchase alcohol at various tents throughout the festival. Whiskey and rum tastings are also an option for the connoisseurs out there.
Shopping at Pirate Fest
If you’re looking for quality, often handmade, items related to your niche, the shopping at Pirate Fest is well worth checking out. Whether it’s a handmade corset, steel sword, or just a beautifully painted rock you’re after, you’re bound to find something unique while shopping at Pirate Fest.
Like the food, shopping vendor tents are set up throughout the festival. There were also hair braiding tents, performance tents, and games for visitors of all ages. So if you’re looking for any custom goods related to the Pirate, Steampunk, and Excalibur genres, you owe it to yourself to come to Pirate Fest and do some shopping!
Entertainment at Pirate Fest
There were plenty of entertainment options going on throughout the day. In some cases, it’s just a little pop-up improv group interacting with the people walking by. In other cases, it’s a full-on circus-style performance featuring horses and men with pierced nipples.
We happened to catch the first performance of a pirate show being put on by a small theater group. Unfortunately, there was a boisterous buccaneer seated next to us in the audience who felt better about himself by heckling the actors. His language and negative energy would not have been our family’s preference, but we still enjoyed the show. There was plenty of sword fighting and dancing going on, including a trial by combat.
Before leaving the festival, we enjoyed a “Gladius The Show” performance, which featured some incredible horses and impressive acrobatics. They mentioned that they were based in Las Vegas (which makes perfect sense) and that they were excited to be doing a home show. Being so close to the horses and performers made it that much more impressive.
There were also various musical performances going on all over the festival. Popular songs were being reconstructed with a pirate theme, which was pretty hilarious. Overall, everything besides Gladius had a tongue-in-cheek feel but was fun and endearing.
Costumes at Pirate Fest
Considering this was our first visit to Pirate Fest, I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of costumes. I thought it would be fun to dress up like a pirate, so I raided my wife and Mom’s closets (Get it? Raided?) to come up with something acceptable.
I ended up with a poofy white shirt belonging to my wife. She never wore it because it was too big and looked too much like a pirate, but for my purposes, it was perfect! I tucked a pair of green trousers into my tall black leather boots, tied a long fringe scarf of my wife’s around my waist like a sash, and used some dental paint from Halloween to blackout my front tooth. Combine that with some serious eyeliner and a few beaded necklaces from Mom’s house, and the outfit was complete.
I felt good about my costume, but soon after arriving at Pirate Fest, it was clear that I couldn’t hold a candle to some of these outfits. There was all kinds of interesting stuff on display. For example, one guy was dressed precisely like Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, while another guy looked like one of the demon pirates Jack fights in the film.
I didn’t expect all of the Steampunk and Cosplay stuff on display. Guys wore long black beak masks with tiny round glasses, and women dressed as fairies with bejeweled wands. There was definitely a “Let your freak flag fly” vibe, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. I found the atmosphere to be very positive and fun.
Kids at Pirate Fest
There’s no question that Pirate Fest is a family-friendly Las Vegas event. Our kids, ages seven, eight, and ten, had a blast and can’t wait to go back next year. There was an entire kids section set up with games, most of which were being put on by UNLV students. We purchased 25 tickets for $20, and the kids spent quite a while burning through them at the various game stations. Our oldest daughter and my Mom waited in line and got to hold a parrot. It was a great experience until the Parrot pooped all over my Mom’s head. No joke. I didn’t see it in person, but I’ll never hear the end of it from my daughter.
The best advice I can give to families attending Pirate Fest is to bring a blanket, maybe a wagon, and as much water as they allow, then find a shady spot to stake your claim. It may be early Spring, but it got up to 91 degrees the day we were there. Walking around in the hot sun all day is a recipe for dehydration, and having to purchase everything there is going to sting you in the wallet.
Pirate Fest Summary
It may have been our first visit to Pirate Fest Las Vegas, but we felt very much at home right off the bat. The kids had a blast playing games, eating all kinds of food, and watching shows. It was a memorable day full of people watching and checking out interesting new things for the adults. We all agreed that we would like to return next year, but now that means we need to start putting together pirate outfits between now and then. So, I think it’s safe to say all (or at least most) of us will dress up next year.
If you’re considering going next year or are on the fence, we encourage you to go! Do it right by putting together a costume too! Even if it’s not your thing, you’ll be making memories and have a new story to tell. We hope to see you there. We’ll be the pirate family!