Arrrgh! 12th Annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival

Hampton, VA will host the 12th Annual Blackbeard Pirate Festival this weekend, June 3-5. Celebrate Hampton’s rich maritime heritage by commemorating the demise of Hampton’s most infamous visitor, Captain Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard the Pirate. Roughly 50,000 seafaring attendees, as well as Blackbeard and his crew, will once again invade downtown Hampton in search of booty. Interact with Blackbeard (personified by first person interpreter Ben Cherry) and more than 100 other authentically-costumed pirate re-enactors as they run rampant on the cobblestone streets of America’s oldest continuously English speaking settlement.

The festivities kick off on June 3 with the 12th annual Grand Pirates Ball followed by a swarm of street skirmishes between pirates and militia, a replica of Blackbeard’s pirate camp, complete with living history interpreters teaching the skills of the sailor circa 1700, and the trial and escape of William Howard, one of Blackbeard’s fellow pirates. Tall ships will also be on display along the downtown Hampton waterfront.

Plus see a re-enactment of the classic sea battle between Lt. Maynard and Blackbeard, featuring two full-scale replica vessels. At the conclusion of the sea battle a presentation ceremony takes place in which Blackbeard’s severed head will be bestowed upon Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood. Visitors can participate in the festivities when they join Blackbeard’s funeral parade, Hampton’s own version of Marti Gras, and share in the booty from the treasure chest.

Jugglers, musicians, a pirate procession, street entertainers and a very special pirate-themed Summer Street Fest round out the event. Saturday night will conclude with a dramatic fireworks display over the Hampton River. The Little Swashbuckler’s Stage will host several performances, including a puppet show and a variety of musical acts. There will also be a number of inflatable rides, hands-on crafts, contests and a treasure dig.

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