Bowlegs Pirate Festival begins this week in Fort Walton Beach as the pirates try to capture the city

The City of Fort Walton Beach, in partnership with the Downtown Merchants and the Krewe of Bowlegs, are gearing up for the 66th Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival. 

The 2022 Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival includes a Downtown Pub Crawl on Thursday, May 12th, 5 p.m.-9 p.m.  Start at any of the participating locations to get your card and then head to all locations to get your card stamped.  Once complete, turn in your card at The Block by 9 p.m. for a chance to win prizes!  

  • Stops include Fokker’s Pub, Salty Duck, Downtown Music Hall, Prop’s Brewery, The Block, and Coasters. 

On Friday, May 13th, there is a Concert at the Landing featuring the Hollywood Vagabonds from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.  As Mayor Rynearson is listening to the music, Captain Billy 66 will attempt an initial invasion of the Fort Walton Beach Landing Park (131 Brooks Street SE).  

  • The night will be capped off with a FIREWORKS display over the water at 8:30 p.m.
  • Food and beverage concessions will be available for purchase. 

On Saturday, May 14th, at the Fort Walton Beach Landing Park there will be pirate-themed activities for kids from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. including DJ on stage, bounce house pirate ship and face painting.  

Food and beverage concessions will be available for purchase as well as Bowlegs t-shirts for sale at the Bowlegs Pirate Ship Float!  

“Be sure to be there at 2 p.m. to prepare for the arrival of Captain Billy 66 and his krewe of scallywags as they march inland distributing beads, booty and coins and continue their mischief Downtown and attempt to take over the City from Mayor Rynearson,” said City Manager Michael Beedie.

Everyone is then invited to a block party with live entertainment on Ferry Road SE between Burrito del Sol and the Salty Duck – DJ from 2-5 p.m. at the Blackhawk Pirate Ship on Ferry Road – where Captain Billy himself will join the party! 

One thing the Bowlegs Krewe is doing this year is an expanded treasure hunt. Unlike in the past, where there was one coin and one winner, this year there are 250 coins in three different divisions. 

  • Kids division under 21. 
  • Adult division over 21.
  • School Classroom division.

“We will also have a treasure hunt in downtown Fort Walton Beach,” said Gary McMorrow, Captain Billy Bowlegs 66. “The treasure hunt will go on until June 10th with the winners announced at the coronation on June 11th.”

(left) Whitney Smith, Queen of Bowlegs 66 & (right) Gary McMorrow, Captain Billy Bowlegs 66

And finally, the fun-filled weekend ends with the Billy Bowlegs Torchlight Parade on Monday, May 16th, that starts downtown at 7:00pm and goes up at Eglin Parkway.

“Make sure you bring your lawn chairs, and your children, and come enjoy all the floats and the various krewes that will be coming in from out of town,” said Whitney Smith, Queen of Bowlegs 66. “We’ll see you downtown Fort Walton Beach, starting Thursday, May 12th through Monday, May 16th.”

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