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Billy Bowlegs Festival Pirates Invade Fort Walton Beach

by S. Lynne on April 4th, 2019

Two pirates skirmish with sword and knife in front of crowd at Billy Bowlegs Festival in Fort WaltonVisitors and residents alike, beware! Fort Walton Beach is bracing for trouble when that infamous pirate, Captain Billy Bowlegs, and his band of merry men stage their annual invasion at the Billy Bowlegs Festival. But the resulting skirmishes should be fun, not mayhem, when Billy and his Krewe come ashore at Fort Walton Beach Landing Park to parade through the streets in a celebration that dates back more than 60 years.

Blond boy pirate at Billy Bowlegs Festival in Fort WaltonStarted in 1953 as a water-skiing festival whose pirate theme was inspired by the notorious William Augustus Bowles, the Billy Bowlegs Festival has grown into one of the premier events of its kind in the country. Sponsored by the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and area businesses, Billy Bowlegs offers people a great opportunity to mingle, party, and have a good time. This year’s pirate shenanigans, including “battles” on land and sea between the Bowlegs bunch and the city’s mayor, Dick Rynearson, will take place on Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1. They’ll be accompanied by fireworks, live music, and plenty of grog and grub.

Although many Bowlegs activities are geared to adults, there’s plenty for the kids to do, too. Entertainment on the main stage will include Captain Davy with his pirate show and other local favorites. The Pirate Play Zone, open throughout the festival, features a rock wall and  bungee jumping, plus Space Walk of Fort Walton and Crestview interactive activities. Wristbands, allowing unlimited access to all children’s attractions, cost $15 per day.

The festival wraps up on Monday night, June 3, with the family-friendly Billy Bowlegs Torchlight Parade, sponsored by Step One Automotive Group. The parade, featuring floats, boats, beads, bands, and, of course, pirate-costumed Billy and his Krewe, will start in downtown Fort Walton at 7 p.m. and travel northward on Eglin Parkway to Hughes Street. There’s no charge to come out and enjoy the parade, but there is a fee to march in it. Find more information on the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival and a complete schedule of events here.

Where To Stay, Where To Eat During Billy Bowlegs Festival

For places to stay in Fort Walton Beach and nearby Destin, check out our Fort Walton Beach Vacation Rentals and Destin vacation rentals. Many of these accommodations can be booked online directly through our Website with NO service fees. And visit our links at Destin Restaurants and Fort Walton Beach Restaurants for great places to eat.

Fort Walton Beach, Florida

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