Get out your eye patches and tiaras for the Pirate and Princess Competition

The pirate-themed 2018 Children and the Arts Day Giant Puppet Parade. Staff photo by Ben Conant
The pirate-themed 2018 Children and the Arts Day Giant Puppet Parade. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Who doesn’t love dressing up like a swashbuckling pirate or an enchanting princess from time to time? (Adults – maybe you shouldn’t answer that – this is a family publication.)

If your kid is into that sort of thing, and he or she is between the ages of 5 and 9, you might want to go all-out on a costume – a $500 scholarship could be yours.

While all the “grown-ups” get to have fun performing on the Tandy’s Market Days Idol stage over the course of the weekend, vying for the chance at big cash prizes, the kids can get in on the action, too, through the Tandy’s Market Days Pirate & Princess Competition, to be held Saturday at 6 p.m. at Eagle Square.

This competition is strictly for kids ages 5 to 9 – a valid birth certificate must be presented to prove your child’s age. The child also must have lived in New Hampshire at least six months before the competition, and the child cannot have a family member who’s a current or former employee of Tandy-Stephens Inc. (Tandy’s). To apply for the contest, go to (accessible through Once you’ve applied, your child will also have to attend a mandatory rehearsal at Tandy’s on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

It may seem like a lot of rules – and it is – but it’s because there’s a lot on the line. Two educational scholarships of $500 will be awarded, one for the winning princess and one for the winning pirate. Apart from the scholarships, other awards, prizes and gift packages will be given out, including merchandise from local retailers.

Like the Market Days Tandy’s Idol competition, in which the audience votes in real time for their favorite performers, the Pirate & Princess Competition will work the same way – there will be no official panel of judges. Also not unlike the Tandy’s Idol contest, friends and family members of the Pirate & Princess contest are encouraged to campaign for votes – start sending off those emails and Facebook messages now telling all your friends and relatives to get down to the competition and stuff the ballot box for your kid. Votes will be cast via cellphones.

As far as the costumes, that’s completely up to you and your kids. Parents are cautioned not to go too crazy with spending, as high-end costumes can start to really put a dent in the wallet.

Also, parents and kids should be aware that fan voting doesn’t always necessarily mean voting for the best costume. In many cases spectators will simply vote for the cutest kid, costume aside, so the personality factor can certainly come into play here, too. Make sure your son or daughter isn’t afraid to really ham it up out there and work for those votes.

Before the main event, it is critical for all hopeful participants to attend the rehearsal at Tandy’s on Wednesday. Participants are not required to be in costume at the rehearsal, but they are required to bring their birth certificates. Any child who shows up without a birth certificate to prove their age will not be allowed to be in the competition.

Also important to note is the entry fee of $25. The fee is required for any child who wants to enter. Fear not, though – all contestants will receive a $50 gift card after the competition concludes, so even if you lose, you win.

The most important thing of all, though, is that this is for fun. Don’t let the dollar signs blind you to the fact that this is part of the city’s biggest family-friendly celebration of the year, and there’s no reason to get all worked up over creating the most outlanding costume the world has ever seen. Let the kids dress up and have fun, and if the crowd likes what they see, he or she could end up with a hefty prize.

To download an applicationl, go to pirateandprincess2019.

Author: Jon Bodell

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