By Joy Crist, Island Free Press
After being canceled in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic, and canceled in 2019 due to Hurricane Dorian, the annual Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree will be returning to Ocracoke in October of 2021.
The Jamboree commemorates the last days of Blackbeard the pirate, who was killed off Ocracoke on Nov. 22, 1718. The event traditionally features authentic Colonial encampments, sword fights, music, lectures, artifacts, reenactments, and more, but organizers say that while the festivities and fun atmosphere will return, this year’s two-day festival will also feature a couple of changes in a post-pandemic and post-Dorian island landscape.
“Ocracoke Island, like everyone else, is climbing out of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the island is also recovering from the flooding devastation from Hurricane Dorian in 2019,” stated the update. “So, Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree will go on Oct. 29 and 30, but will be scaled back this year.”
“This year, too, the festival will focus more on history and colonial life and on family fun. Festival-goers will be urged to eat and drink in any of Ocracoke’s many restaurants.”
The October events will kick off Friday evening with a showing of the 1968 film “Blackbeard’s Ghost,” a family-friendly movie complete with “Rocky Horror Picture Show”-type shouting out of movie lines, followed by a discussion with historian Kevin Duffus about “Pirates and Fake News in 1718.”
Saturday will again feature a colonial village on the grounds of the Berkley Manor, along with a number of local artisan vendors. Throughout the day, pirate and colonial reenactors will filter through Ocracoke village, and interact with island visitors.
Other events will include a pirate ship invasion of Silver Lake, (one of the festival’s annual highlights), ship boarding reenactments, a pirate parade, sword fight demonstrations, sea chantey songs, and several historical talks.
The event will conclude at 4 p.m. on October 30 with an hour-long memorial service for Blackbeard’s and Lt. Robert Maynard’s crews, another tradition of the yearly event.
For more information about the Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree, visit the event’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/BlackbeardsPirateJamboree/.