Pirate walks plank at Renaissance Faire | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Pirate walks plank at Renaissance Faire

Linda Bottjer

The Queen will be in attendance this weekend at the Renaissance Faire at Camp Richardson in South Lake Tahoe.

Who has not at one point wanted to be a pirate?

Spirited co-workers, global travel, fantastic wardrobe and a vastness of booty are just some of the benefits. Add in a parrot sidekick and it spells the perfect job to many.

At the 12th annual Valhalla Renaissance Faire this weekend there is a celebration of those who pillaged for a living. Meet O’Raider the Pirate and find a man content in his work.

Just do not expect him to recklessly banish a cutlass while wildly crying “arrgh”.

O’Raider, whose alter ego is Raider de ‘Rogue, portrays a brainy buccaneer.

It is a role he comes by honestly having grown up in England long known for its rich sea-faring history. In addition he studied maritime history at the University of Bristol.

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Although he has extensive school knowledge, he is far from being a snob. Many participants wonder at first at the sight of a swarthy pirate toting a piece of lumber around the Camp Richardson Wood with a rope.

His response gains laughter. “Have you never heard of walking the plank?”

He acknowledges the popularity of the Jack Sparrow character and others from the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie series has given rise to the public’s interest in those who raided shores from Polynesia to the eastern seaboard of the United States. It is evident from the number of attendees attired in knee britches, waistcoats and tri-cornered hats or jauntily cocked head scarves.

As O’Raider leads packs of enthused children and adults, alike, on scavenger hunts he combines enlightenment with entertainment.

First, while he acknowledges some of his brethren deserved their bloodthirsty reputations he also tells tales of how many pirates were really privateers. Monarchs, such as Queen Elizabeth I, would commission sailors like Sir Francis Drake to plunder at will the ships of rival nations. Bounty was split between the pirates and the Crown.

“Many of them were jobless when wars stopped, and they did not wish to find a normal job,” he said. “Being a mercenary appealed to them.”

Ask him about another iconic symbol of piracy – the flag.

Gladly, he will say how simple motifs of the first banners expanded into threatening designs as did exploration of the world. Skeletons, skull and crossbones and hourglasses depicting an intended victim’s time was up soon adorned flags.

He enjoys sharing his tools of the trade, such as letting children handle his authentic, and unloaded, flintlock.

This Friday, June 10, marks Family Day where lower admission rates will be offered.

When parents threaten, in jest, to let him take their offspring to the Spanish Main he thoughtfully considers the reaction of the children before replying. He does not want to terrify anyone.

“Just because I am a pirate, I do have manners,” he said.