Monday, October 13, 2014

Pirate Jamboree

Pirates to invade Ocracoke for Jamboree
By Connie Leinbach (

Madame Grace of Blackbeard’s Pirate Crew says the purpose of their living history encampments is to ignite peoples’ imaginations, and that’s what they will do the weekend of Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 during the Second Annual Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree throughout the village.

Photo by Connie Leinbach

The Crew, from Hampton, Va., will camp the weekend in the yard of the Wahab House, 161 Irvin Garrish Highway.

Photo by Philip Howard

 This free, family-friendly event kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31 in the Ocracoke Community Center at where author-historian Kevin Duffus of Raleigh will test attendees’ knowledge of the infamous brigand in a game show format. A $10 donation will be asked and will include beer and non-alcoholic beverages. Duffus will ask competing teams of about historical (or hysterical) statements on Blackbeard from actual published accounts. “Blackbeard’s history has been badly distorted,” explains the author of “The Last Days of Black Beard the Pirate.”

Following the game show, The Motley Tones, the minstrel group that was such a hit at last year’s event, will sing seafaing and piracy songs from the ‘60, ‘70s and ‘80s--that is, the 1760s, 1770s and 1780s.

Photo by Philip Howard

Saturday morning, the jamboree will begin at 10 a.m. with pirates on period ships shooting at pirates on the land. Other professional pirate crews attending include Captain Horatio Sinbad on his period brigantine the Meka II; the Ada Mae, a skipjack from New Bern; the Beaufort Oars in their sloop The Ranger; the Sea Scouts, a group of youths ages 14 to 20; The Shadow Players, a stage combat group from Raleigh and Chris Suttle, who will portray Blackbeard.

The main event will be the re-enactment of “The Battle at Ocracoke,” at 3 p.m. in Silver Lake harbor. Three ships will re-create the last hours of Blackbeard and his crew as Lt. Robert Maynard brings them to battle with cannons blazing.

Photo by Philip Howard

The Brigand’s Bazaar in Community Square will include vendors selling pirate-themed wares and food. Two beer gardens—at Live Oak Coffee across from Community Square and Teach’s Tavern at Books to be Red-- will sell grog. During the day, Duffus will give another talk about his scholarship on Blackbeard.

Photo by Philip Howard

New this year is the “Hunt for the Dirty Dozen of the Deep Blue Sea.” Attendees purchase cards featuring 12 of the invading pirates. Get all the pirates’ signatures and turn them in for booty at Teach’s Hole Blackbeard Exhibit. The cards and festival T-shirts will be on sale at the Information Booth in Community Square.

Ocracoke was a favorite hiding place of Edward Teach, or Blackbeard.

Ocracoke is where Lt. Robert Maynard finally located the pirate in 1718. After a ship-board battle of swords, Maynard severed the pirate’s head then took it to Hampton, Va.

Duffus also conducts the ceremony Sunday when the pirates march to Springer’s Point at 10 a.m. to commemorate the fallen pirate and his crew.

“We are really excited about this second event after a very successful first year in 2013,” noted Daphne Bennink, owner of The Back Porch and chair of the event. Local business owners are looking forward to the fun. “This is one of the best family events we’ve had in a long time that celebrates history,” said Sue Pentz, co-owner of the Harborside Motel in the heart of the village and the pirate action about last year’s event. “Everyone gets to live the day and to be a part of it. It’s a fun event for all ages.”

Public parking is available at the NPS Visitors lot at the south end of the island, 4352 Irvin Garrish Highway. A complete schedule of events will be available at the Information Booth and is available at


Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is about the Unionist North Carolina State Government established at Hatteras in 1861. You can read all about it here:


  1. Anonymous10:33 AM

    I can't wait to read all the comments about how this activity glorifies the Barbaric Behaviors of drunks thieves, scoundrels and the like. Someday there will be events say, out in the middle of nowhere glorifying the behavior of motorcycle drunks thieves and scoundrels, wait there is, it is a place called Sturgis, S.D.

  2. What fun! It sounds like the whole village will be involved. Enjoy!