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Billy Bowlegs Festival Pirates Invade Fort Walton Beach

by S. Lynne on March 30th, 2021

Two pirates skirmish with sword and knife in front of crowd at Billy Bowlegs Festival in Fort WaltonVisitors and residents – beware! Fort Walton Beach is bracing for trouble when that infamous pirate, Captain Billy Bowlegs, and his band of merry men stage the invasion of the 65th annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival and Torchlight Parade this spring. But the resulting skirmishes should be fun, not mayhem, when Billy and his Krewe come ashore to Downtown Fort Walton Beach to parade through the streets in a celebration that dates back more than 65 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 takes place on Friday, April 30, 5-9 p.m., and Saturday, May 1, with the celebratory Torchlight Parade on Monday, May 3, 2021, at 7 p.m. 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, with entertainment on the main stage, The Pirate Play Zone,  and pirate-friendly interactive activities. Wristbands, allowing unlimited access to all children’s attractions, are available.

The festival wraps up on Monday night with the family-friendly Billy Bowlegs Torchlight Parade. The parade, featuring floats, boats, beads, bands, and, of course, pirate-costumed Billy and his Krewe, starts in downtown Fort Walton at 7 p.m. and travels 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. 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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