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Aye! Pirates in Savannah!
We are five minutes from Oglethorpe Mall. The skies are clear and blue; puffy white clouds drift peacefully before the serenely shining sun.
Suddenly, the thunder of cannon fire cracks through the calm day.
It is Friday, May 20, and we are at the Carmike Cinemas on Stephenson Avenue in Savannah. The Alee Shriners have brought their pirate ship to celebrate the opening of a new film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. The Shriners are a fraternal, Masonic order who raise money for the Shriners Hospital for Children, a healthcare system with twenty-two hospitals dedicated to pediatric medicine and research. Usually, the Shriners are easily identifiable by their red velvet fezzes; today, they are wearing pirate hats.
The cannon erupts again, startling the group of Carmike customers in the ticket line. The Alee Pirate House is a large, wheeled vehicle that looks like a pirate ship: it has marine rigging for sails, and a captain’s cabin. The ship, part of the Alee Shriners’ Pirate Unit, is a staple of the Savannah parade circuit, and it also makes appearances on day’s like today, celebrating pirates and raising money for sick kids.
The Alee pirate ship is not the only swashbuckling addition Carmike has made in celebrating the release of the fourth Pirates movie. The theater staff is decked out in their yo-ho-hoingest pirate gear, and there are pirate treasures for sale in the lobby. There’s even a mermaid for photo opportunities, her majestic tail stretching lazily out before her as she chats and poses with theater guests. For a night, the theater is transformed into another world, where pirates menace you as you go to buy tickets, and a kiss from a mermaid might grant you a magic charm.
By: Lynn Schneider