Ahoy, mateys! The Tybee Pirate Festival be afoot for a weekend of fun any landlubber will enjoy.
Charissa Murray and her family be the original purveyors of the Tybee Pirate Festival, starting it back in 2005 as a way to attract visitors to Tybee in the off-season. The organizers were surprised by how successful the event’s first year turned out, she said. Now, according to Murray, the festival sees over 15,000 visitors every year from all over the U.S., the U.K. and Germany.
This year’s events include something for everyone. The Buccaneer Ball takes place Oct. 4 at The Crab Shack with the official kickoff of the fest. Guests are encouraged to come dressed in pirate garb and dine with the festival's pirate royalty. The king and queen will be crowned at 7 p.m.
The official opening ceremony is at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 with a cannon firing by The Krewe of the Black Heart, and the event emcee is Barnacle Bill Bedlam.
“Barnacle Bill Bedlam, joined by his group The Brethren of Carolina, came in 2010 and has been with us since,” said Murray. “He's hosted the Buccaneer Ball several times and will be our official emcee for the 2018 festival.”
The Pirate Victory Parade starts at 3 p.m. Oct. 6 and is free and open to everyone. Expect plenty of pirates, cannon firings, Shriners, the Midnight Twirlers of Marietta and more. The day also features a child and adult costume contests, DJ dance party and live music.
Heavy metal band Quiet Riot headlines the night at 9 p.m., followed by a fireworks display.
The festival offers even more fun, including a carnival for pirates of all ages. Check out the event schedule and map out your plan; that is, if you don’t end up going out and staying all weekend.
Murray said both “the people who come to our island and experience the magic the first time” and “seeing the children's faces light up” are part of what make the Tybee Pirate Festival special year after year.
IF YOU GO
What: Tybee Pirate Festival
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 4, 5-11 p.m. Oct. 5, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Oct. 6, noon-4 p.m. Oct. 7
Where: Tybee Island, various locations
Cost: $12-$15; kids 12 and younger free; Buccaneer’s Ball is $50; parade is free