Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival

By Land

And By Sea

It's A Pirate's Life For Me!

We may not have found the treasure but we still had a great time at the Billy Bowlegs Festival.

Friday night we went down to the Landing and watched the fireworks.

It was a beautiful night and the fireworks were great. We were right in front of them and had an up close, excellent view.

The Youngest Island Boy got so excited when they started and as the fireworks would go up in the air he’d yell "Fire in the Hole!"

And then when the fireworks went off he’d yell "Aaaarrggg Walk the Plank Maties!"

The people around us were cracking up.

The Camp Walton re-enactors would fire off their cannon every once in a while and we were so close that you could actually feel the blast.

The first time it happened I was squatting down next to the Island King and it startled me so much that I fell over on my butt which caused the people behind us to die laughing.

The woman told me they didn’t mean to laugh at me but that it was pretty funny watching me fall over.

Friday afternoon the Island King decided that he needed a pirate hat so he bought a black straw sunhat and pinned the sides up and then glued jewels and gold pieces on it and created the coolest pirate hat I’ve ever seen.

He got so many compliments on it at the fireworks that everyone else in the family wanted one too.

He bought more hats Saturday morning and made one for everybody and they were really a big hit at the festival. Tons of people asked where we bought them and we’re thinking about making a bunch and selling them next year.

Saturday afternoon was the official battle between Billy Bowlegs and the Camp Walton Militia (aka the Walton Guard).

The pirate ship sailed into Santa Rosa Sound and the militia fired several cannon shots at the ship but they made it to the dock and the pirates swarmed over the Landing.

The militia fought a brave battle but after about 10 minutes the pirates gained control and the militia surrendered the City.

The Mayor got up on stage and officially handed the City of Fort Walton Beach over to Billy Bowlegs and his crew who declared “Let the debauchery begin!”

Pirates danced all through the crowd handing out beads and doubloons and the militia retreated to their camp on the other side of the Landing.

After the battle we wandered around for a while looking at the different booths that were set up.

We were all wearing our pirate hats and we were quite a sight! We could have sold hundreds of them. So many people asked where we got them and people were coming up to us just to tell us how much they liked them. Put a redneck in a pirate hat and people are bound to stare.

Of course our boys had to have pirate swords and while we were sitting on the grass having dinner a little boy with his own sword came over and engaged our boys in a sword fight.

Five minutes later the hill was swarming with miniature pirates engaged in battle.

One of the men from the Walton Guard came walking by and before he knew it he was being attacked by the mini pirate people.

The poor guy tried his best and even though he had his own sword he didn’t stand a chance. The poor guy was just trying to find a quiet spot for a smoke but the kids wouldn’t let him go until he threw up his hands and officially surrendered.

We checked out the crafts the vendors were selling, ate way too much food, danced to the band, spent a lot of time in kidland and after many many hours decided it was time to call it a night.

We were exhausted but really had a lot of fun.

If you’re ever in Fort Walton Beach the first weekend in June you should check out the Festival.

It’s not often grown ups get to dress up like pirates and spend the weekend eating, drinking and being merry!