LONG BEACH — They walked along wood planks wearing tricorne hats as repeating phrases such as ‘Arrrrgh!’ and ‘Ahoy, matey!’ to anyone passing by.

On Saturday, Sept. 19, a group dressed as pirates assembled around the boardwalk near Bolstad beach approach in Long Beach in celebration of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, an obscure holiday that encourages people to celebrate the salty language of legendary pirates of old.

Nine people participated, including pirates from Shoreline, Edmonds and Kent. Among the local pirates was Caren Gimper, who moved from Kelso to Long Beach roughly three weeks ago. It wasn’t her first pirate-related event.

“We’ve been pirates a long time,” Gimper said. “Six or seven years or so. We get together and do kid events and parades. We have a blast.”

Others in the group have been pirates much longer, including two ‘pirate mates' named Ugly and Lickety Split.

“I was involved with another pirate group since 1990,” Ugly said. There’s no official name for the current group that amassed in Long Beach, Ugly explained, adding that he participated in several over the years.

“We’re rogues,” he said.

There’s more to being a pirate than parrots and peg legs, Lickety explained.

“It’s about fun and camaraderie,” he said.

Oregon origin

International Talk Like a Pirate Day, celebrated annually on Sept. 19, started in 1995 by John ‘Ol Chumbucket’ Baur and Mark ‘Cap’n Slappy’ Summer in Albany, Oregon, according to talklikeapirate.com.

The duo proclaimed that on such day everyone should talk like a pirate in honor of the parody holiday. The day remained relatively unknown until 2002 when the unusual celebration was written about by humorist Dave Barry in the Miami Herald newspaper in Florida, leading to more widespread recognition.

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