This Weekend: Blackbeard Festival in Hampton


Starting Friday, June 3 the Hampton Blackbeard Festival returns for its 17th year. It’s a local favorite and was even featured on the October 21, 2015 episode of the Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown entitled Blackbeard’s Hidden Gold. It was also named one of the Top Five Pirate Festivals in North America by USA Today Travel. 

Join the party yourself and celebrate Hampton’s rich history by commemorating the demise of the infamous visitor, Captain Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard the Pirate.

There is a lot of lore about Blackbeard, but we know that during the later part of the 1600’s and early 1700’s, he was one of the most menacing pirates who roamed the coastal waters of Virginia and North Carolina. He finally died in a violent sea battle with Lieutenant Robert Maynard in 1718, where his head was famously placed on a pole to remind any other would-be pirates that they are not welcome in Virginia.

The Blackbeard Festival expects to attract 50,000 attendees. Blackbeard himself will be there, played Blackbeard Festival Image 5by interpreter Ben Cherry, and more more than 100 other authentically costumed pirate re-enactors.

Activities include a replica of Blackbeard’s pirate camp, complete with living history interpreters teaching the skills of the sailor circa 1700, and the trial and escape of William Howard, one of Blackbeard’s fellow pirates with ties to Hampton. There will be a re-enactment of the classic sea battle between Lt. Maynard and Blackbeard, featuring two full – scale replica vessels in the Hampton Harbor. At the conclusion of the sea battle a presentation ceremony takes place in which Blackbeard’s severed head will be bestowed upon Virginia Governor Alexander Spotswood.  Don’t forget to join the festivities of Blackbeard’s funeral procession, Hampton’s own version of Mardi Gras, and share in the booty from the treasure chest.

Tallships, a kid’s area, an 18th century replica tavern, entertainers, cannons, demonstrations, bird shows, and more will also be included, as well as a fireworks display Saturday night at 9 p.m.

Visit blackbeardfestival.com for more details