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FORT WALTON BEACH—The 65th Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival and Torchlight Parade has been rescheduled from the traditional first weekend in June, to Friday, July 31st and Saturday, August 1st with the celebratory Torchlight Parade on Monday, August 3rd.
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In addition to the date a few changes have been made to make the event even more exciting while keeping with tradition, according to a press release from the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce.
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On Friday, July 31, ‘The Skirmish’ will feature Capt. Billy along with his Krewe coming ashore in an attempt to capture the City.
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Mayor Dick Rynearson will be there to defend the city from these marauders with the outcome unknown, but either way fireworks will follow.
On Saturday, August 1, Capt. Billy and the Krewe will officially “land” as per tradition to take over the city. After storming the Landing, the Krewe will invade downtown Fort Walton Beach.
A party will follow at The Boardroom Pub & Grub from noon to 3 p.m. offering the public an opportunity to meet Capt. Billy Bowlegs LXV, 65, his beautiful Queen, the Honor Guard, and his entire Krewe.
The downtown invasion continues at the Cumulus Broadcasting Pirate Block Party on Ferry Road, where downtown restaurants will be offering a variety of fare and Capt. Billy will be handing out beads and treasures, the release said.
On Monday, August 3, the event will conclude Monday with The Billy Bowlegs Torchlight Parade, sponsored by Step One Automotive Group, at 7:00 pm.
Parade floats will wind their way from First Street up Eglin Parkway. Parade-goers are encouraged to cheer for beads, cups, coins, and candy from the many festive floats. The perfect, and only way to end this Fort Walton Beach tradition.
This year’s downtown pirate invasion is inspired by Fort Walton Beach native Buddy Carter, who is Capt. Billy Bowlegs LXV.
“Buddy is one of these guys with sand in his shoes that has been here his whole life,” Ted Corcoran, Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO said.
“He remembers Bowlegs’ festivals in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, where the pirates would land at a Santa Rosa Sound dock just west of Beal Parkway and parade east on U.S. 98 toward Brooks Bridge. Buddy fondly remembers that as a child and how fun it was for downtown. He wanted to bring it back.”
The 65th Annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival is sponsored by the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber’s annual sponsors: Bank of England Mortgage, Bit-Wizards, City of Fort Walton Beach, Community Broadcasters, Cox, Cumulus Broadcasting, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, Emerald Coast Harley-Davidson, Destin Fort Walton Beach Tourism Development Department, FastSigns, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, Image Printing and Digital Services, MAG Aerospace, Northwest Florida Daily News, Okaloosa Gas, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, Step One Automotive Group, The Island, by Hotel RL, and White-Wilson Medical Center.
The following information is contingent on the status of the statewide Stay-At-Home order and ban on gatherings, the release said.