Mighty tall ships moored in the parking lot of the Mad River Green this past weekend and more than 80 miniature pirates scurried out and fled into the shops following clues, walking the plank, designing nautically inspired hats, upgrading their swords, painting T-shirts and getting tattoos. A landlubber may have been shocked to see all of this activity in mud season, but anyone with an ear to the ground knew that the first annual Pirate Scavenger Hunt was under way.
“We wanted to create an event to thank the local families for shopping with us all year round,” said Julie Burns, co-owner of Three Mountain Cafe. “It started out as an adult pirate event, but that was quickly vetoed because kids make cuter pirates,” added Burns.
All of the Mad River Green businesses were involved in some capacity. There were sea shanties being sung in Peanut and Mouse, T-shirt painting with the Starving Artist Gallery, an opportunity to win a custom-embroidered hat at Whippletree Designs and balloon swords being made at The Collection. Even if a store wasn’t open, an interactive game was placed on their windows to draw attention to the store. On the display window at Mad River Travel there was a large map of the world and instructions for the pirates to place a star on their dream destination. Clever clues led the pirates around from adventure to adventure. “Fire in the hole! Hurry to the place where a skillful swashbuckler can buy tools he needs to repair a hole in the hull of his tall ship,” read a clue that was drafted to lead the motley crew to Bisbee’s Hardware.
This event coincided with Three Mountain Cafe’s Waffle Sunday.
“I loved the waffles, it made me feel better about my son’s first tattoo and the fact that my husband’s dream destination is New Jersey,” said Rebecca Baruzzi, executive director of the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce. “Even better than the waffle is the collaborative nature of all of the businesses in the Mad River Green. I’m really excited to see what they are going to pull off for Strawberry Festival!”
The leaders of this effort were from The Collection, Peanut and Mouse, Three Mountain Cafe and Crosspoint Associates. The co-conspirators were, The Butchery, Bisbee’s Hardware, Edward Jones, Patricia Lynn, Turtle Creek Builders, the Starving Artist Gallery, Whippletree Designs and the Waitsfield Inn. The group has already met to decide how to tweak the event for next year. “It was so much fun seeing everyone come out and have such a great time,” said Yvonne Fugate, owner of The Collection. I really enjoyed seeing both parents with so many of the kids. Usually we only see one parent during the shopping trip so this was truly a family experience,” added Fugate.