Good day to be a pirate in downtown Milford

“Arghhh” was the word of the day in downtown Milford Sunday as pirates took to the streets for the annual Downtown Milford Business Association’s Captain Kidd Pirate Day.

The event started at noon, and at 11:30 there were already a number of parents and children dressed in pirate garb, many carrying plastic swords and wearing black patches over one eye.

At noon, Captain Kidd, who was really radio personality Brian Smith, sailed into Milford Harbor with his team of pirates. Cannons posted on the docks at the city boat launch added a bit of smoke, noise and reality to the would-be pirate invasion.

Captain Hook was on hand too, played by the city's former economic development director Robert Gregory. Gregory is president of the city's 375th Anniversary Committee, and this year's Pirate Day was tied into the city's 375th celebration week.

Once on shore, Captain Kidd called out a "Happy Birthday" to the city, and then his pirates gave Mayor Ben Blake a key to the city, a stuffed parrot and a pineapple — gifts, Captain Kidd aka Smith said. Then, the “invaders” named one of the pirates, who was actually Milford resident Dan McAllen, the mayor for the day because they intended to kidnap the real mayor — not really though.

McAllen, as his first order of business, declared it happy hour.

Then thousands of little and big pirates started making their way through the downtown shops, armed with treasure maps that had to be stamped at each of the participating shops for a chance to win a prize.

Children got “booty” at each of their stops, maybe a plastic sword or a bit of candy, before moving on to the next spot on the map.

Scott Swett of Shelton came with his own pirate ship on wheels to pull his grandson and friends through the streets of Milford to the different shops, music and other highlights that marked their way.

“They didn’t fit into the little wagon anymore,” Swett said, explaining that last year he pulled them in a wagon, like many parents at this event do.

“My grandson said ‘Papa’ you need to build something that we can ride at Pirate Day,” Swett said. “That’s how this all happened.”

He built the pirate ship out of fence posts and scrap wood, and the creation got lots of admirable glances as it carried its mini pirates on their way.

Christine Smith came all the way from Southington for Pirate Day for two reasons. Her brother-in-law is Mayor Ben Blake, and her son, Kellen Smith, 4, absolutely loves pirates.

Downtown merchants were getting into the spirit of the day as they stamped treasure maps for event-goers. One good-naturedly said that if the children couldn’t figure out the clues on the map, they just might have to walk the plank.

At Brats on a Bun, owner Dorothy Osanitsch was dressed “piratey” herself as she stamped treasure maps and handed out food samples.

Other shops were equally festive and generous, while on the downtown green events were planned throughout the day.