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Feast of the Pirates 2022

Avast me mateys, there be pirates on the horizon and they be headed our way! On Saturday, Sept. 17, Belville’s Riverfront Park will full of pirate-themed fun as the 2022 Feast of the Pirates comes ashore from 10 am to 5 pm. This year's event will have pirate encampments, reenactors, sword fighting, Sea Shanty groups, black powder cannon and musket demonstrations, food and merchant vendors as well as many activities for the wee lads and lasses, said Stephanie L. Fornes, President of the event’s organizer, Wilmington Harbor Enhancement Trust, Inc.

The Feast of the Pirates has long, and appropriately a little bit sordid, history. “The Feast of the Pirates took place in Wilmington for three years (1927-1929),” said Fornes. “Tourists from all over the region, as many as 28,000, traveled to the Port City. They had the pleasure of watching historical reenactments, boat races, competitions, and various parades. The reenactments ranged from George Washington's ceremonious entrance into the city in 1791, to Blackbeard's march to City Hall. Excessive alcohol consumption and public drunkenness during the 1929 festival, however, caused concern for committee members and other city officials. Nevertheless, it was the Great Depression that put the final nail in the coffin for the Feast of Pirates.”

The Wilmington Harbor enhancement Trust revived the idea of a pirate festival in 2005. “We started out on Friday with a Pirates Ball, and on Saturday we had a sword fighting group during the day and a lighted flotilla in the evening. This was in conjunction with Riverfest. In 2014 we decided to add history to our festival thus bringing back the Feast of the Pirates,” said Fornes. “The festival was held in downtown Wilmington 2014-2016. In 2017, we decided to relocate to Brunswick County to share the pirate heritage there.”

This year’s Feast will add a new event for children. “This year we are adding a Most Wanted Poster to hand out to the children. They have to find all the pirates on the poster to receive their booty,” Fornes said.


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