BARNEGAT – Hundreds of people looking for a swashbuckling good time came out to Barnegat Township’s annual Pirates Day celebration.
After last year’s event was canceled due to inclement weather, tons of residents and visitors alike took advantage of a sun-filled Saturday to partake in pirate-themed festivities, live music, food, and family-friendly fun in downtown Barnegat.
According to Barnegat Township, the town was once known as a popular shipbuilding town during Revolutionary times. Barnegat was once home to the “Patriot pirates” who raided British vessels to disrupt supply lines to British troops. Today, it honors its history with the annual celebration.
Real-life “pirates” walked the streets and performed pirate re-enactments for the kids, decked out in pirate hats, traditional garb, and the occasional eye patch. One pirate walked taller than the rest, on giant stilts.
On the Pirates Cove Stage, members of Pirates of Fortune’s Folly, Valhalla Pirates and Ye Pyrate Brotherhood hosted a pirate/pirate princess costume contest where the winners were honored on stage.
Scores of vendors lined West Bay Avenue, wrapping around the fire station, and spilling over into Gazebo Park. Festival-goers could find everything from handmade crafts, to t-shirts, to farm fresh goodies. Local businesses and nonprofits also set up booths, engaging with the community through fun games and attractions like a spinning wheel of fortune or life-size pirate cutouts for photo ops.
One of the most popular attractions of the day was local animal rescue East Coast Paws and Claws. This rescue had a puppy tent set up where kids could pet the adoptable puppies, some even taking one home.
Behind the fire station was the Children’s Entertainment Zone featuring a giant inflatable pirate ship, trackless train, face painting and rides.
As you walked through the downtown, you could stop to enjoy the live music that was played on the main stage from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Bands like Jersey Sure Cats, Madeline Smith and Strictly 60s took to the stage, playing music both kids and adults could dance to.
Not only was Pirates Day about fun, but local organizations like Save Barnegat Bay were also present to bring a bit of education to the event, teaching kids about conversation and rain barrels.