Pirates and mermaids will fill Matlacha this weekend during the 3rd annual Island Pirate Fest, which benefits From Our Hearts.
From Our Hearts is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer care.
Laura Smith, organizer of the event, said the first Pirates Fest raised just over $7,000, and last year's event raised more than $15,000 for From Our Hearts.
Bert’s Bar & Seafood Grill owner Bernard Johnson and Island Pirate Fest organizer Laura Smith at last year’s Island Pirate Fest.
"We are hoping for a good turnout this year," she said, adding that she hopes the festival will generate a good amount of money for the organization.
The three-day event will kick off Friday, Feb. 8, with the Parade of Mermaids at 6 p.m. at Pine Bay Gallery. Smith said the mermaids will walk to the Matlacha Bridge and then parade over to Bert's Bar & Seafood Grill around 7 p.m.
This year, she said a couple of mermaids who have tails and swim in the water will make an appearance at the event.
"They are going to be there (Bert's Bar & Seafood Grill) on Friday and Saturday night," Smith said. "People will be able to take pictures with them."
The Pirates Ball will be held Saturday, Feb. 9, at 7:30 p.m. She said the Redemption Band will provide the entertainment during the ball.
Baskets will be raffled off throughout the night.
"We will have a costume contest for the best dressed pirates," Smith said, which will take place at 9 p.m.
She said they usually have first, second and third place prizes for both the men and women.
The Island Pirate Fest's biggest moneymaker is had on Sunday during the Pirates Live Auction. Auctioneer Scott Robertson will begin the live auction at 12:30 p.m. at Bert's Bar & Seafood Grill.
"We have a lot of great stuff," Smith said.
Some of those prizes include a two-night stay at the Tarpon Lodge; lunch with author Bob Macomber; Bonefish Grill Cape Coral excursion dinner for 10; intro to pole dancing lesson for up to eight people at Pole Dance Fitness of SWFL; full body health scan at Radiology Regional; half day fishing charter with Capt. Joe Harley; counter height swivel bar stool hand painted by artist Lynne Reinas; cooking class and dinner for up to 10 people at Andy's Island Seafood; Homes & Harbour or sunset and dolphin cruise for up to 10 people with Banana Bay Tour Company and a duffel bag of items that will be embroidered with the logo of your choice from SP Designs MFG Inc.
Smith said they are still accepting donations for the live auction. Individuals can contact the hotline at 239-829-1439.
"We are in need of local arts and goods and services for people to donate for the auction," she said.
The 2013 sponsors include Bert's Bar & Seafood Grill, Coldwell Banker, Bubba's Roadhouse & Saloon, Falling Tide Charters, Sandbar Productions, Lee Memorial Health System Foundation and Hollywood Bike Shop.