Ahoy, matey! The Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival and Torchlight Parade returns to Fort Walton Beach for the 65th year with new dates and safety protocols for COVID-19. Presented by the Krewe of Bowlegs and the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival includes a full weekend of festivities from April 30th to May 3rd with the traditional landing of Billy Bowlegs at the Fort Walton Beach Landing on May 1st and the Torchlight Parade on May 3rd.
This year’s event is inspired by Fort Walton Beach native Buddy Carter, Captain Billy Bowlegs LXV. Buddy has been participating in Bowlegs festivals since the 60’s and has fond memories of the pirates landing at the Santa Rosa Sound dock. On Monday night, Captain Billy along with his Queen and Krewe will invade First Street up Eglin Parkway for the family-friendly Torchlight Parade featuring visiting Krewes and many local businesses and organizations.
Founded in 1954 as a way to promote tourism to the Fort Walton Beach community, the Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival has become a beloved Fort Walton Beach tradition. The Krewe of Bowlegs has a strong commitment to serving and entertaining the community with lighthearted antics and community outreach. Captain Billy and his brave Krewe have been known to show up at local elementary schools to share daring stories of adventure and even to train dolphins at the Gulfarium.