After being canceled in 2019 and 2020, (and edited in 2021 due to the Coronavirus pandemic), pirates invaded Ocracoke Island in full force for the 2022 Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree, with many swashbucklers reporting that it was the island’s biggest Jamboree yet.
First launched in 2013, the annual Jamboree has become a favorite fall weekend event on the Outer Banks, and 2022 was no exception, with two days packed with programs, demonstrations, activities, music, and more.
There were a few slight alterations to the festivities due to the windy weather. The scheduled three-boat battle in Silver Lake Harbor between Blackbeard and Capt. Maynard was moved to the NPS docks, and the action took place on land, but the change didn’t diminish the show which drew a big crowd of spectators.
The Motley Tones were a popular part of this year’s event, with multiple packed-house performances at the Berkley Barn, as was author Kevin Duffus who answered the question “Why was Blackbeard on Ocracoke?” and provided narration for the famed Saturday afternoon battle on Ocracoke’s WOVV 90.1 FM.
Other highlights of the event included the Colonial Village, which featured both live demonstrations and hands-on activities for pirates in training, the expansive Brigands Bazaar which featured a record number of local vendors and artisans, and the Saturday morning Pirate Parade, where popular participants from previous years – like the tricycle-riding skeleton – returned for a cruise through the heart of Ocracoke village.
With one of the largest crowds in recent memory, (despite prior cancellations), the annual Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree has retained its reputation as one of the best and most lively events of the fall.
“The crowd at the 300th anniversary [of Blackbeard’s death] in 2018 might have been bigger, but not by much,” said a visiting pirate from Pennsylvania who has attended nearly every year since 2013. “We build our vacation around this. You don’t often have a chance to dress up, drink grog, and have fun in one of the most beautiful places in the world.”