By Robin Banks
For one day only downtown Anchorage will look more like the set of Pirates of the Caribbean than its usual port city landscape. On Saturday, Sept. 21an anticipated 3,000 Pirate clad enthusiasts will flood the city streets for the highly anticipated 10th Annual Pirate Pub Crawl.
Beginning at 7 p.m. in Town Square participants can begin by joining the group photo and pick up pirate maps to visit 12 participating pubs and restaurants.
Each of the locations will be providing a stamp for pub crawlers to complete their map as well as offer a variety of food and drink specials, entertainment and other activities. In addition a limited number of special event t-shirts will be sold at each pub with all of the proceeds going to the Blood Bank of Alaska.
Once all stamps have been collected, pirates can turn in their maps at any of the locations for a chance to win 80,000 Alaska Airline miles. The event is free to participate and late pub crawlers can pick up a map at any of the 12 locations along the way.
In addition to the traditional pub crawl, an all-ages non-alcoholic event called Pirate Cove has been added to the day’s festivities and will take place in Town Square beginning at 2 p.m. Pirate Cove will include pirate themed vendors, food trucks, music, family friendly activities and even an opportunity to come aboard a 36-foot replica of the infamous Black Pearl Pirate Ship, built by Playful Learning Pediatric Therapy. The Blood Bank of Alaska mobile vehicle will also be on site to take blood donations.
“What we hope this does is to get more people downtown, more families, more people investing in coming downtown to stay and participate,” said Kevin Hall, co-founder and board member of the Anchorage Pub Crawl. “To get kids understanding that there this kind of fun component to it, that we get the whole community to say let’s celebrate anchorage with a mighty Argghhhh!
The Anchorage Pub Crawl, a non-profit organization, has been raising money for the Blood Bank of Alaska in partnership with downtown bars and restaurants for years. To date, this combined effort has raised over $116,000 and has become perhaps the most unique yet highly valued contributor to the Blood Bank of Alaska.
“The support is very significant to the health of the state,” said Robert Scanlon, CEO of Blood Bank of Alaska. “I just want folks to know how appreciative we are for the support, it’s just really awe inspiring.”
Each participating pubs will be donating another $800 or more to the Blood Bank of Alaska as part of the friendly competition in the spirit of giving. The pub that provides the largest donation, raised from selling t-shirts or other activities, is bestowed the official pirate pub flag that they can proudly display at their location.
Looking back on 10 years the event organizers are amazed with the level of excitement and participation from the restaurant and bar industries. “We’ve raised the consciousness of the community of all these great bars downtown,” said Hall. “The key thing is how we got the bars to work together towards a common goal and that they can have a function within the community.”
Hall shared that the highest donation received from a prior year was $16,000 and hopes that with the addition of the all-ages Pirate Cove event that amount might be exceeded in 2019. But community participation is what’s most important according to Hall.
“We want to make the goal where everyone feels like they have a part in it. $16,000 is what we’ve done in the past that’s a high mark — I’d like to surpass the high mark,” said Hall. “But whatever it might be, the important thing is that we all came together, that the Blood Bank awareness was raised and that we did save lives.”
The Pirate Pub Crawl concludes at 1 a.m. and several of the downtown hotels are offering discounted room rates to ensure a safe and memorable good time for all.
For more information visit www.piratepubcrawl.org or visit the Anchorage Pirate Pub Crawl on Facebook.