Wrightsville Beach Museum to host Pirate Day celebration on Saturday

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By Dustin Fitzgerald

local pirate history at the Wrightsville Beach Museum on Saturday, Oct. 20, where local historian and former director of the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck project, Mark Wilde-Ramsing will give a presentation of his new book Blackbeard’s Sunken Treasure.

Although it would last less than a decade, a span of time during the late 18th century would be known as the “Golden Age of Piracy”. The leaders, Edward “Blackbeard” Teach, “Black Sam” Bellamy, Stede Bonnet, “Calico Jack” Rackham, Mary Read, and Anne Bonny, would become the center focal points of Pirate legend.

Blackbeard felt at home in North Carolina. The barrier islands served as non navigable obstacles to most ships and proved to be the Pirate’s favorite hide out spot. Teach was killed in battle not too far from here in 1718. To this day, Money Island, nestled  among the marshes of Wrightsville Beach, continues to lure treasure-hunters looking for the pirate’s buried gold of legend.

Feast of Pirates was a local celebration from 1927-1929 and though it lasted only 3 years, it was celebrated to the hilt: parades in Wilmington of costumed pirates young and old, bathing beauty contests and historical vignettes of pirate history held at Lumina, theatrical presentations, and fiercely –contested riverfront battles between dozens of pirates in full regalia, before they would land at the Water Street. The photos of these battles are full of smoke and action.

Local artist, Virginia Wright-Frierson will also be in attendance to discuss her illustrations for the book. Book signing from 1:30-2:30pm. Book signing discount the day of the event for the purchase of Blackbeard’s Sunken Treasure.

Katie Menne from the Maritime Museum at Southport will lead a variety of children’s activities. Costumed interpreters will tell stories for the youngsters, help them make swords of newspaper, and discuss the clothes of the time. Adults will enjoy the information on maritime history.

Pirate costumes are encouraged and there will be light refreshments. Activities will be held at the museum and at the NC Coastal Federation Stanback Education Center across the parking lot from the museum. Admission is free with a suggested donation of a canned good for Florence Relief.

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