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The original item was published from 6/2/2023 5:22:33 PM to 6/2/2023 5:52:19 PM.

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Parks & Recreation

Posted on: June 2, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Check out 2023 Blackbeard Festival's full schedule, map and more

June 2, 2023 — Join the fun of pirate history and lore in the coastal seaport city of Hampton, Virginia, at The 22nd Anniversary of the Hampton Blackbeard Pirate Festival.

Featured on the October 21, 2015, episode of the Travel Channel’s "Expedition Unknown" titled "Blackbeard’s Hidden Gold" and named No. 3 of the Top Five Pirate Festivals in North America by USA Today Travel, the festival celebrates its 22nd year of showing off the history of the notorious Pirate Captain Blackbeard, scourge of the Atlantic in 1718 and the trial of his crew by Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Spotswood.

During the latter part of the 1600s and early 1700s, pirates roamed the coastal waters of Virginia and North Carolina in search of ships laden with tobacco and other goods. The marauders terrorized waterways and unsuspecting cargo ships, capturing goods, sailors and ships. Captain Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard the Pirate, was the most daunting of these menacing outlaws.

Blackbeard was finally captured and beheaded in a violent sea battle in Ocracoke, North Carolina, with Royal Navy Lt. Robert Maynard in 1718. His severed head was impaled upon a pole near the mouth of Hampton Creek, now known as Blackbeard’s Point, to serve as an unyielding reminder that piracy would not be tolerated in Colonial Virginia.

Hundreds of years later, roughly 50,000 seafaring attendees, as well as Blackbeard and his crew, will once again invade downtown Hampton during the 22nd Anniversary Hampton Blackbeard Pirate Festival! Meet Blackbeard and more than 200 other authentically-costumed pirate re-enactors as they run rampant on the streets of America’s oldest continuous English-speaking settlement.

Start hobnobbing with the Pirates on Friday night, June 2 at The Pirate’s Parlay in the encampment at Mill Point Park on Eaton Street from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in downtown Hampton. Wear your finest piratical attire for this free evening of dancing outdoors to the best in piratical entertainment with the sounds of “Clan McCool,” and hear tales of bounty hunting and folklore as you sit alongside pirates outside their temporary, humble camping quarters.

On Saturday, June 3 & Sunday, June 4, continue your Pirate Experience free of charge on the Downtown Hampton Waterfront. Explore Blackbeard’s Pirate Encampment in Mill Point Park with world class living history interpreters teaching the skills of the sailor of the 1700’s. Guests may even have the opportunity to learn how to use a cutlass, load a cannon, or sing a sea shanty.

Gather your Pirate Swag and Fit yourself out at the 17th& 18th century Historical Merchants in the encampment selling Piratical Goods such as clothing, hats, shoes, jewelry, weapon reproductions and leather accessories. Even learn a thing or two from Colonial Craft Demonstrations. At mid-day, join in the Pirate’s Procession through town to the waterfront to witness mayhem and intrigue on the Hampton River.

Watch through smoke and gunpowder as the Pirate Blackbeard’s ship the Adventure leads other ships in battle, a fight to the death between Lt. Maynard and Blackbeard himself. Adventure was Blackbeard’s true flag ship so it’s only fitting that the Adventure will be portrayed by the pirate ship of the same name owned and operated by Blackbeard’s Crew, Inc.

The Adventure is a 18th-century, 39 foot on-deck wooden-framed, carvel-planked, and cutter-rigged ketch sailing vessel. Built by Bruce Northrup in 1978 and originally known as the Flying Lady, the vessel was acquired by the Blackbeard’s Crew in 2018. As the Flying Lady, the Adventure gained notoriety sailing the waters of the Pacific in and around Japan in a quest for the secret of flying lady Amelia Earhart. The 1983 expedition led to the discovery of a previously-unknown island believed to be the scene of the 1937 crash in which Americans Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared.

At the conclusion of the sea battle, a Dockside Reception takes place where Blackbeard’s severed head will be bestowed upon Virginia Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood (1710-1722).

Follow the captive crew to join in the Pirates’ Trial and the escape of William Howard, one of Blackbeard’s fellow pirates with ties to Hampton and Ocracoke, and share in the booty from Blackbeard’s treasure chest. Hampton’s own version of Mardi Gras!

Then wander the streets of Downtown Hampton for nautical purchases from street vendors ($) selling hand-made jewelry, corsets, pirate garb, art, and more, where young Buccaneers will also find free, old-fashioned pirate games and prizes throughout.

Food vendors ($) will serve a variety of seafood and international dishes, as well as festival grub like turkey legs, burgers, skewers, corn dogs, funnel cakes, shaved ice, and more.

Also stroll along the Hampton River to the Downtown Docks near the Maritime Center to check out the Dockside stage, complete with daytime pirate entertainment, and visit the old-fashioned Customs House near the docks.

Don’t forget about Blackbeard’s Block Party Saturday night June 3, held in the large lot along Eaton Street (diagonally across from Mill Point Park), with musical guest Vinyl Headlights performing from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Adult beverages will be available ($) at the Block Party and during most festival hours.

And stay around Saturday night for The Hampton Blackbeard Pirate Festival Fireworks Display at 9 p.m. over the Hampton River!

For more information, contact Briana Hudnall, Marketing Coordinator for Hampton Parks & Recreation, at (757) 727-6348 or, or contact Yuri R. Milligan, Hampton Director of Media and Community Relations, at (757) 728-5328,

Hampton Blackbeard Pirate Festival full schedule

Festival map and full itinerary (PDF)

FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2023 

(Pirate’s Parlay 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.)

Pirate Encampment in Mill Point Park

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Pirate’s Parlay featuring Clan McCool


(Festival Open 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.)

Battery Point & Pirate Encampment

10:00 a.m. - Opening Ceremony (Cannon Fire)

8:00 p.m. Pub Sing (all official entertainers)

9:00 p.m. – Cannon Fire/Fireworks

Sword Circle (all day)

Dockside Activities

1:30 p.m. – Muster for Pirate Parade (at Queen Street Garage)

1:45 p.m. – Pirate Parade Step-Off (Field Musick, Pirates, Flags to Lead - River Walk to Docks)

1:45 p.m. – Rusty Cutlass Performs at Dockside

2:00 p.m. – Blackbeard’s Last Battle

Blackbeard’s Stage

11:00 a.m. – Rusty Cutlass

12:30 p.m. – Brigands

3:30 p.m. – Trial & Treasure Segment

4:00 p.m. – Chaste Treasure

5:00 p.m. – Brigands

6:00 p.m. – The Motley Tones

Capt. Jack Sparrow & Miss Swan (roving)

Scallywag’s Lagoon

10:00 a.m. – Fins & Seashells (all day)

10:00 a.m. – Capt. Slackbeard & The Cut Throat Crew (all day)

11:30 a.m. – Clan McCool

7:00 p.m. – Blackbeard’s Block Party featuring “Vinyl Headlights” (until 10:00 p.m.)

Dockside Stage

10:30 a.m. – Bedlum Bones

11:30 a.m. – The Motley Tones

12:00 p.m. – Chaste Treasure

1:00 p.m. – The Natterjacks

3:30 p.m. – Bedlum Bones

4:30 p.m. – Clan McCool


(Festival open 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.)

Battery Point

12:00 p.m. – Opening Cannon Fire

5:45 p.m. – Muster for Cannon Fire

6:00 p.m. – Closing Cannon Fire

Dockside Activities

1:30 p.m. – Muster for Pirate Parade (at Queen Street Garage)

1:45 p.m. – Pirate Parade Step-Off (Field Musick, Pirates, Flags to Lead – River Walk to Docks)

1:45 p.m. – Rusty Cutlass Performs at Dockside

2:00 p.m. – Pirates Take Back Hampton (Sea Battle)

Blackbeard’s Stage

12:00 p.m. – Chaste Treasure

1:00 p.m. – Brigands

2:30 p.m. – Bedlum Bones

4:00 p.m. – Brigands

5:00 p.m. – Rusty Cutlass

Capt. Jack Sparrow & Ms. Swan (roving)

Scallywag’s Lagoon

12:00 p.m. – Fins & Seashells (all day)

12:00 p.m. – Capt. Slackbeard & The Cut Throat Crew

1:30 p.m. – Clan McCool

3:00 p.m. – Clan McCool

4:00 p.m. – The Motley Tones

Dockside Stage

12:00 p.m. – Bedlum Bones

1:00 p.m. – The Natterjacks

3:00 p.m. – The Natterjacks

4:30 p.m. – Chaste Treasure

  • Those looking for dock space during the Blackbeard Festival are encouraged to contact marinas located throughout the downtown area, including the Hampton Public Piers (757/727-1276), Customs House Marina (757/636-7772), Bluewater Marina (757/723-6774), and Sunset Boating Center (757/722-3325). Call for details and availability.
  • For the safety and comfort of your pets, we recommend that you leave them at home.
  • Free, handicapped and public parking is available in Downtown parking garages on Eaton Street and Settlers Landing Road, the City Hall parking lot, and in any legal, on-street parking spaces as marked. Parking in private residential or business lots is restricted as posted, with owner towing operations in effect (at your own expense).


City Parking Lot along Eaton Street (Eaton Street side closed; Wine Street side remains open to the public all weekend)
No parking on Eaton Street side of lot as barricaded Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 8:00 a.m. through Sunday, June 4, 2023 at 10:00 p.m.

Queen’s Way, from Easton Street to Wine Street 
No parking Friday, June 2, 2023, beginning at 8:00 a.m. through Sunday, June 4 at 10:00 p.m. 
Road Closed/All Lanes Friday, June 2, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. through Sunday, June 4 at 10:00 p.m. 
(Old Point Bank customers may access drive-through on Queens Way from Eaton Street Friday until 6:30 p.m.)

Wine Street, from Old Point Bank Customer Parking Entrance to Settler’s Landing Road 
No parking Friday, June 2, 2023 beginning at 8:00 a.m. through Sunday, June 4 at 10:00 p.m. 
Road Closed/All Lanes Friday, June 2, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. through Sunday, June 4 at 10:00 p.m. 
(Old Point Bank Parking, Public Parking Areas, and Private Driveways Accessible)

Eaton Street, from Queen’s Way to Eaton Street Parking Lot 
No parking Friday, June 2, 2023 beginning at 8:00 a.m. through Sunday, June 4 at 8:00 p.m.
Road Closed/All Lanes Friday, June 2, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. through Sunday, June 4 at 8:00 p.m. 
(Entrance to Mill Point Condos remains open)

Booker T. Washington Bridge on Settler’s Landing Road 
Partial and/or all lanes closed intermittently Saturday evening, June 3, 2023 to accommodate Fireworks Show logistics (show begins Saturday at 9:00 p.m.). At 4:00 p.m., traffic will be reduced on the bridge heading into Downtown to one lane (left lane open), and then at 8:30 p.m., all bridge lanes both into and out of Downtown will be closed until 9:15 p.m. while the show is in progress. Please note posted roadside signs and obey police signals for direction.

For more information on these and other Hampton events and programs, contact the Hampton Visitor Center at (757) 727-1102, or the Hampton 311 Citizen Contact Center at (757) 727-8311. For those into surfing the web, visit

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