Avast, Maties! Mark your calendars with an “X” for the sixth annual Tybee Island Pirate Fest taking place Oct. 8-10 at Savannah’s funky beach town. This year’s festivities include the Buccaneer Ball, Pirate Victory Parade, costume contests, treasure hunt and a special performance by Eddie Money.
“The event has grown tremendously since we started it,” said 2010 Pirate Fest Chairman Charissa Murray. “We’re expecting some 25,000 to 30,000 people this year. Everybody dresses up in really amazing costumes. The place is overrun with pirates.”
The fun begins with the coronation of the Pirate Fest King and Queen Thursday, Oct. 7, at the Buccaneer Ball, an event restricted to swashbucklers and wenches 18 and older. Tickets to the ball, held at The Crab Shack, are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
“The pirates come together to roast a pig and have a jolly good time,” Murray said. “It can get a little rowdy.”
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Pirate Fest kicks off the following day on Strand Avenue. A variety of bands will be performing on the main stage from 5-11 p.m. The popular Thieves Market will be offering plundered treasures from leather goods to jewelry to arts and crafts. Grog and grub also will be available. Young pirates will enjoy the Little Matey’s Cove, featuring kids’ activities, a petting zoo and entertainment.
The party continues Saturday with the Pirate Victory Parade at 1 p.m. along 1.5 miles of Butler Avenue. Among the 35 to 50 entries featured every year are pirate ships shooting cannons filled with Spanish moss.
“We’ll have 10,000 people on the street watching the parade,” Murray said. “The pirates kidnap the mayor. Everybody’s flying their pirate flags. It’s a ball!”
At 9 p.m., Eddie Money takes the stage to perform some of his biggest hits, including “Baby Hold On” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” After the concert, all the local bars and restaurants will be hosting pirate parties. The festival opens again on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets to Pirate Fest are $15 in advance, $20 at the gate, and include the Eddie Money concert and festival admission for all three days.