Sea Of Pirates Swarm Barnegat Middle School

These pirates weren’t afraid of the local constabulatory. (Photo by Stephanie A. Faughnan)

  BARNEGAT – Ahoy mateys! Word has it that a band of suspected sea robbers arrived at Brackman School  – just in time to give lessons in pirate jargon.

  This year’s Pirate Day conveniently fell on the Saturday before September 19’s “International Talk Like a Pirate Day.” Landlubbers learned from “old sea dogs” what it meant to haul wind or risk forced walking the plank for not knowing when to weigh anchor.

  According to local folklore, the infamous Captain William Kidd sailed into the Barnegat Bay in search of a lovely lass who stole his heart. Stories vary as to whether Kidd buried treasure at sea or somewhere in the Pinelands.

  Reports that Captain Kidd’s ghost haunts the area surface almost as often as tales that the late school marm of Barnegat’s Elizabeth V. Edwards School haunts the building.

Pirate School was in session. (Photo by Stephanie A. Faughnan)

  For over three decades, people came from afar to visit Barnegat’s historic downtown area as pirates seized every inch from Route 9 to East Bay Avenue to Birdsall Street. Lads and lasses crammed together in search of booty from an assortment of vendors that lined the streets.

  Concerns for people’s safety made for a change in location for Barnegat’s annual Pirates’ Day festivities last year. Barnegat Police Chief Keith Germain suggested the assorted buccaneers might find a clearer gangway in a vaster area.

  All hands were on deck as the governing body took on the suggestion of the township’s lead law enforcement officer. After all, none of them wanted to face mutiny charges if someone fell folly to some type of disastrous harm.

  Change can be difficult and not always well-received. Many of the same folks who dislike that the township’s fireworks display moved from the docks to Barnegat High School found the venue change unacceptable. While no one disagrees with the charm of the downtown area, officials insist that safety needs to come first.

Not all pirates are thieves. Some of them are shoppers. And some of them are shopkeepers. (Photo by Stephanie A. Faughnan)

  Jeanne Broadbent, Recreation Director for Barnegat and Waretown, said this year’s event proved to be a great success. Children had plenty of opportunities for bouncing around and taking advantage of the playground in the back of the Collins School.

  Pirates actually seized Collins to set up a Pirate School. WBNJ radio played sounds in the area. At the other end of the pirate ship, live bands got people up on the pavement and moving to the music.

  “We had 75 vendors here today,” said Broadbent. “They all had something different to offer and many were from local businesses.”

  Food trucks lined one part of the parking lot and catered to folks looking for some great grub. Pirates did their share of blabberin’ and acting like a bunch of scallywags.

  None of the pirates appeared the least bit frightened by the emergency vehicles lined up at this year’s Pirates’ Day. They even resisted jumping aboard the Barnegat Police Department’s new marine unit before leaving off to sea.

The pirates were of the family-friendly variety. (Photo by Stephanie A. Faughnan)

  Broadbent estimated approximately 3,000 people came to visit this year’s Pirate’s Day. The fact that the event was spread out left plenty of walking room and less bumping into each other.

  Those who set sail for this year’s Pirates Day also had the opportunity to finish the day with a special movie offered by the Barnegat Recreation Department. “Pirates of the Caribbean” allowed viewers to return to a time when pirates ruled the seas.