FAIRIFIELD — Cannon battles, live mermaids and music are just a sampling of what can be found Saturday and Sunday at the eighth annual Northern California Pirate Festival in Vallejo.
New this year is The House of the Rising Sun, where festival attendees can try their hand at a game of cards or dice.
Also making its debut is the Saturday night Buccaneers Bash, a separate-ticketed, adults-only party featuring rock bands and a burlesque show with a pirate theme.
The Merry Wives of Windsor, a Southern California-based all-female folk and Celtic music group, are joining the entertainment lineup for the first time.
The group was brought together in 2001 by its director, Heather Greene. The idea was to fill the niche of an all-woman comedy singing group at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire, according to fiddler Darien DeVries.
She joined The Merry Wives of Windsor in 2003, after moving to California from New Jersey. DeVries started playing violin when she was about 8. Classical music was her focus in middle and high school.
“After I’d been in the Merry Wives for a few years, we decided to take up our own instruments,” she wrote in an email to the paper. “We’d previously had male instrumentalists. I got a crash course in playing fiddle.”
The style is very different, she said. DeVries took fiddle lessons to increase her knowledge of music theory.
She said she also plays a “pretty mean kazoo.”
Lively music, fantastic harmonies and a rollicking good time are an accurate description of The Merry Wives of Windsor show, DeVries wrote.
The band performs traditional, original and comedic folk music.
“Our repertoire includes original comedy songs that make crowds laugh out loud, rousing Irish drinking songs, traditional madrigals and beautiful ballads,” DeVries wrote.
She added, “(At the Pirate Festival) we’ll be focusing on our large collection of nautically themed tunes. Our three- and four-part vocal arrangements are accompanied by an assortment of instruments, including Irish bouzouki, mandolin, upright bass, flute and fiddle.”
DeVries has been part of the Pirate Festival the past four years, serving at the beverage stands and raising money for the International Order of Odd Fellows, San Pablo Lodge 43.
The Merry Wives of Windsor are going on tour this summer. After traveling up the coast to perform at the Washington Renaissance Faire, the band will make its first trip to the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin.
Pirate Festival performance times for the group are 12:30, 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m., 12:30 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.