Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival – Torchlight Parade, Fireworks and More

If you think you hear chains rattling and sails rustling, you might just be hearing the sounds of the Blackhawk, Capt. Billy Bowlegs’ pirate ship, as it’s headed for Fort Walton Beach, where the Krewe of Bowlegs is sure to invade the city for the 63rd time during the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival, taking place June 1-4. This year’s festival theme is “No Rules, Only Guidelines.”


The festival begins at the Landing at 3 PM Friday, June 1. From 4 to 7 PM, Capt. Davy and the Crossbones present their unique combination of magic, balloon sculpting, music, and pirate-themed contests. There will be a “Defense of the City” demonstration by Reed’s Raiders at 6 PM. Capt. Billy and his Krewe will dock at the Landing around 7 PM for their reconnaissance mission and a skirmish with the mayor and Reed’s Raiders. On Friday night, Beachcomber Music Award winners I’magene perform on the main stage from 5 to 7 PM.


On Saturday, June 2, the festival grounds open at 11 AM for a day filled with pirate revelry and live music. The Good Lookings perform from noon to 3 PM. The Bowlegs Krewe is expected to attack the city at approximately 2 PM. We’ll see what tricks and strategies Mayor Dick Rynearson and Reed’s Raiders will use to repel Capt. Billy’s invasion. Their invasion will be followed by a closing set from Capt. Davy and the Crossbones before the festival closes at 6 PM.


Stop by the Gazebo and visit with your favorite Cumulus radio on-air personalities and register to win “Billy’s Booty,” better known as cash (!), from Cumulus and the Bank of England, the area’s VA lending leader. They’ll give away $100 each hour Saturday from noon until 6 PM.


Throughout the festival, there will be entertainment on the main stage, plus a large kids’ Pirate Play Zone, sponsored by Kids Discovery. Kids’ bracelets, allowing unlimited access to all the children’s attractions, will be available for $15 each day. Attractions include the rock wall, Euro-Bungee, and Space Walk of Fort Walton and Crestview interactive attractions, as well as the RPM Kids’ Carnival.


The Billy Bowlegs Torchlight Parade, sponsored by Step One Automotive Group, is on for Monday, June 4, at 7 PM. The parade floats will make their way from First Street up Eglin Parkway, with crowds screaming for beads and throws from the festive floats.

The 63rd Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival is sponsored by the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, AT&T, T-Mobile, Tobacco Free Florida, and the Chamber’s annual sponsors—Bit-Wizards; City of Fort Walton Beach; Community Broadcasters; Cox Communications; Cumulus Broadcasting; Carr, Riggs & Ingram; Emerald Coast Tourism Development Department; FastSigns; Fort Walton Beach Medical Center; Image Printing and Digital Services; Northwest Florida Daily News; ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals; Southern Rentals and Real Estate; White-Wilson Medical Center; and ZT Motors of Fort Walton Beach.

– Eppi Azzaretto
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