BEST BETS: Pirate Empire invades Dover Comic Con

The Pirate Empire will be in front of The Biggs Museum of American Art as part of Saturday’s Dover Comic Con. (Submitted photo)

Living in Ketchikan, Alaska, Steven Dapcevich always dreamed of being a pirate.

“I saw ‘The Buccaneer,’ when I was 4 years old with my father and my uncle,” he said of the 1958 movie.

“I went to school after that wanting to be Yul Brynner. Then it was ‘The Sea Hawk’ with Errol Flynn and ‘Yellowbeard’ as goofy as that was. But my favorite was ‘Pirates’ from 1986. Walter Matthau was perfect in that.”

His childhood dreams eventually came true as he has set sail with The Pirate Empire, portraying a picture-perfect Capt. Jack Sparrow from the “The Pirates of the Carribean” films.

He and his crew, along with their pirate ship and other pirate props will be camped outside the Biggs Museum of American Art on Federal Street all day Saturday during the Dover Public Library’s Comic Con 2018.

This year’s fifth annual event, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 people, will be spread out all over downtown Dover. It will include a costume contest; over 120 exhibitors, which include artists, authors, cosplayers, vendors and non-profits; panel discussions; crafts; pop-culture cars; face painting; video games; a mobile escape room; on-site food trucks and much more.

Mr. Dapcevich has traveled across the country, participating in various comic cons, renaissance festivals and anywhere else that requires a pirate ship and a crew of misfits.

A lifelong fan of pirate films, he went to the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” film with great anticipation.

“I honestly didn’t like the film the first time I saw it. But it didn’t take me too long to warm up to it,” he said.

But from that sparked an idea.

“It’s been my life story that people always say ‘You look like Johnny Depp,’ especially when I lived in California,” he said.

He resisted the thought for a while but the following year he was talking to the owner of the Florida Pirate Festival, inquiring if they had a Jack Sparrow lookalike.

“She said ‘We’re interviewing five different guys now. Send me your headshot and a resume,’” he recalled.

“My phone rings a few days later in Alaska at 4 a.m. She said ‘You’re hired. See you in November.’ This was in July and I thought I better start making a costume.”

His Pirate Empire has expanded to three storage units with ships, swords, skeletons and more, all handmade by Mr. Dapcevich, who now lives in York, Pennsylvania.

“I think I could re-create The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World minus the river boats at this point,” he said. “Whenever I go to the storage units, I always draw a crowd once I open them up.”

He has now built a business that includes super heroes, Harry Potter characters, Santa Claus and more. But his Jack Sparrow character is the biggest of the bunch.

“I’ve done movie theaters, corporate events, birthday parties, which are my favorite since I get cake at the end,” he said.

Mr. Dapcevich estimates that he’s probably seen the first “Pirates of the Carribean” movie at least a thousand times.

“I used to have it on in the background when I was making my first captain’s coat,” he said.

Ozzy and Venus Fitzcharles pose for a photo dressed as Link and Harley Quinn. during a past Dover Comic Con.

The series has expanded to five films with a sixth on the way.

“It’s really a universal, magic character. Johnny Depp likes to describe him as ‘a character who could run through the raindrops and never get wet,’” he said.

“I hate to say it but I think the similarity between the two of us is uncanny. He’s not that good of a person but he’s not that bad of person. He’s able to escape one calamity after another.”

He said Dover Comic Con visitors on Saturday should expect to get “lots of candy.” He’ll also be making balloon swords, taking pictures and offering up a treasure hunt along with a few surprises.

“You never know who I’ll be bringing with me. We’re going to go all out,” he said.

Activities start at 10 a.m. with a grand opening ceremony on The Green at 10:45 with Delaware first lady Tracey Quillen Carney, who will be launching the new Delaware Division of Libraries kids library card.

The Delaware Ghostbusters will bring their version of the Ecto-1 ambulance/hearse to Dover this weekend for the Dover Public Library Comic Con. (Submitted photo/Jeffe Rodriguez)

Also, this year the Overdrive Digital Bookmobile will be onsite for attendees to check out and try using the online resources that libraries offer.

The 42-foot long Digital Bookmobile is traveling North America to promote reading through ebooks and audiobooks at local libraries and schools.

Special guests include Star Wars 501st Legion: First State Garrison; Delaware Ghostbusters with the Ecto-1 mobile; The Finest: G.I. Joe Costume Club; Delaware Anime Society; Pursuit for Peace Princesses; and the Harry Potter Alliance: First State Potion Masters.

The fun continues all night long with an after party for those 21 and over at Allure Night Club on U.S. 13 in Dover from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.

For more information on the free, all-ages, rain-or-shine event, contact the Dover Public Library at 736-7030, visit or see the program at under the Special Sections tab.

‘Fancy Nancy’

Also Saturday, Dover Mall invites the community to a “Fancy Nancy”-themed Disney Junior Play Date event. The event will take place from 1 to 3 p.m.

Disney Junior’s animated family comedy “Fancy Nancy,” which debuted July 13, centers on Nancy, a high-spirited 6-year-old whose zest and enthusiasm for all that is exquisite — including language, nature, art and color – transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.

The Dover Mall will have free face painting, a disc jockey, live fashion show, crafts, and more. The event will be held in the Promotional Court.

Folk Hero preliminary

Staying in Dover, Delaware Friends of Folk will present the second and final preliminary event in their 12th annual Delmarva Folk Hero contest Saturday at 7:30.

The open-mic event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Bennett Chapel at Wesley College on Division Street in Dover. Sign-up will start at 7 p.m. and each performer will get 15 to 20 minutes on the Friends of Folk stage.

Ballots will be distributed for the audience to vote for their favorite performer and three finalists from each evening will be selected by those present. The finalists will each get a performance slot on Friday night, Sept. 28, at the Delmarva Folk Festival.

Again that evening, the audience will vote for their favorite, and the winner will be named the 12th Delmarva Folk Hero. Prizes include $100 cash, the opening performance spot the next day for the 27th annual Delmarva Folk Festival, an invitation to appear live with Mark Rogers on WSTW’s “Hometown Heroes” show, and more.

Performers should present a genre similar to the ones typically presented by Delaware Friends of Folk – folk (traditional, new, or “singer songwriter”), bluegrass, blues, Americana, Celtic, jazz, New Age, World, old-time, roots, and story-telling, preferably using acoustic instruments.

To simplify changeovers, acts should be no more than five performers, with a strong preference toward fewer members in any act. No drum kits and no previously recorded accompaniment please.

Admission is $5 for members of Delaware Friends of Folk and $7 for non-members. Performers and those 12 and under are admitted free. Fresh-brewed coffee, baked cookies and other snacks will be available.

Cardboard Boat Regatta

Up in Smyrna, the Smyrna-Clayton Little Lass Cardboard Boat Regatta will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. on Lake Como to benefit the Little Lass softball team. The rain date is Aug. 25.

The event will also feature a cornhole tournament, food and music. The cornhole entry fee is $20 per team.

For the regatta, sign-in starts at noon. Registration fee is $20 per boat.

The entire boat must be built from corrugated cardboard and duct tape. Pre-treated cardboard such as waxed cardboard isn’t allowed.

Each crew can have two people ages 12 and up. Every crew member must wear an appropriate personal flotation device.

Awards include Fastest Speed Award for the fastest time, the VanGogh Award for the most creative vessel and costumes and the Titanic Award for the best sinking.

For a complete list of rules and a registration form, visit or see the Facebook page

For more information, call Stacie Robinson at (302) 242-0663 or email

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters are the action-adventure films “Alpha” and “Mile 22” and the comedy “Crazy Rich Asians.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Deadpool 2” and the comedy “Snow Dogs.”

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