A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival

Ft. Walton Beach Hosts for the 60th Year

It started out as a water skiing festival in 1953, and has turned into one of the nation’s longest-running and most popular pirate festivals. Sponsored by the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce and annual sponsors, the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival always takes place on the first full weekend in June. People come by land, sea, and air to join in this family-friendly event.

As a native of the area, the Billy Bowlegs festival was a highlight of summer fun especially when it involved a real treasure hunt. For years, you could purchase a treasure map and the local newspaper would publish clues to the location of the hidden treasure. Families would descend on the sand dunes, digging away, hoping to find the buried loot. The competition eventually ended when it was determined the digging was detrimental to the environment, but back-in-the-day, it was so much fun.

If you are kicking off your summer with a beach visit to Destin, FL, enjoy a visit to Ft. Walton Beach for a little pirate fun. Here’s an abbreviated schedule of festival highlights: 

June 4 (Thursday) – Party with the Pirates
  • 4:00 p.m. Little Scallywags Pirate Walk (pirate-themed walk, visiting downtown merchants for treats)
  • 5:00 p.m. Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival kicks off at The Landing, including vendors, entertainment, & pirate fun
  • 6:00 p.m. Billy Bowlegs Pub Crawl 
  • 6:30 p.m. Best Dressed Pirate Contest for Adults 
  • 9:00 p.m. Talk Like a Pirate Contest for Adults
June 5 (Friday) – The Pirate Party Continues 
  • 3:00 p.m. Kids Pirate Play Zone with bands & entertainment
  • 6:30 p.m. Best Dressed Pirate – Kids Contest 
  • 7:00 p.m. Pirate Skirmish between the Krewe of Bowlegs and the Mayor of FWB 
  • 8:00 p.m. Heritage Band
  • 9:00 p.m. Fireworks 
June 6 (Saturday) – Invasion Day!
  • 10:00 a.m.  Kids Pirate Play Zone re-opens 
  • 4:00 p.m. The Pirate Landing, Krewe of Bowlegs attempts to capture the Mayor
  • 9:00 p.m. Billy Bowlegs 5K (www.NWFTC.com)
June 7 (Sunday) – Pirate & Citizen’s Day of Rest


June 8 (Monday) – Parade Time!
  • 7:00 p.m. Billy Bowlegs Torchlight Parade (Parade route is northward on Eglin Parkway, from First Street to Hughes) 

Complete details available at www.BillyBowlegsPirateFestival.com.


Kendra Veach

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