Time for Pirate Parties!
There are few periods in history that retain more allure or spark more of the imagination than the era of pirates. Originally formed by qualified ship captains and able seamen, licensed by governments to help protect holdings and defeat their enemies, “privateers” turned to piracy for personal gain more than loyalty to their letter of marque. So how do we celebrate? Pirate parties, of course.
Tales of excitement and seagoing adventures are embedded in much of our culture. From then until now, being on a boat at sea has been an adventure. It’s no wonder the pirate lure has turned into a multi-million-dollar tourism industry for many of our coastal communities.
October celebrates the 300th anniversary of the end of the most notorious pirate to ever have lived—Blackbeard. We don’t know much about Blackbeard’s early life. But the last years of his life and his death immortalized him forever. And now, we celebrate him with pirate parties.
Where to celebrate:
Bath, North Carolina, which may have been Blackbeard’s original home and where he returned in the summer of 1718, will celebrate the tricentennial of the famous pirate’s time in the historic village October 19-20. The program begins on Friday evening with “The Iconography of Blackbeard—300 Years of Interpretation of the World’s Best-Known Pirate.” blackbeard300.com
Ocracoke, North Carolina, follows on October 25-28 with a full-scale reenactment of Blackbeard’s last battle and famous capture. Historians will be on hand to provide accurate interpretations of Blackbeard’s life and the events during his time. visitocracokenc.com
Beaufort, North Carolina, holds a real pirate’s treasure at the North Carolina Maritime Museum with actual artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship Queen Anne’s Revenge, which was discovered buried in the shallow waters of Beaufort Inlet exactly where historical documents recorded the intentional grounding and abandonment. ncmaritimemuseums.com
Tybee Island, Georgia, and the porous sea island coast made for easy hiding of pirate ships. The seaside community commemorates the pirate activity that took place along Georgia’s coast. Held October 5-7, this will be the 14th anniversary of this popular festival. exploregeorgia.org/tybee-island/events/culinary-food-wine-beer/tybee-island-pirate-fest
Boynton Beach, Florida, celebrates the pirate’s life on October 27-28. There’s a festival along East Ocean Avenue between 3rd Street and Federal Highway. As one of the oldest settlements in North America and one that changed hands under the flags of many nations, Florida has a rich history with the early sea-faring life of pirates. bbpiratefest.com
By Bob Arrington, Southern Boating September 2018