Each year, a colorful crew of scalawags takes over the town, during Pirate Day in the Bay, May 18 & 19th. But forget the pillaging - the party boosts the local economy and raises money for charity.
- story by Lisa Monti, photos by Ellis Anderson
The Seahorse Krewe was organized in 2014 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of St. Louis Bay, which helped the U.S. defeat the British in the War of 1812. During the battle in the bay the USS Seahorse and other wooden schooners delayed the British fleet that was headed to New Orleans.
The historic observance of the little known battle launched the krewe’s Lundi Gras golf cart parade as well as Pirate Day. Both have grown each year and now both are much anticipated events enjoyed by visitors and local celebrants. Pirate Central, at the corner of Main Street and Beach Boulevard, is headquarters for all things Pirate Day.
Thursday - May 17
Pirate Central is "party central" when Krewe members and sponsors gather Thursday evening for the King and Queen pirate party from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in advance online.
Friday - May 18
On Friday, loads of pirates will land at the municipal harbor and then parade up to Pirate Central at 5 p.m. for the traditional capturing of the mayor.
The Pirate Pub Crawl and Scavenger Hunt from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday will feature music at Pirate Central and the search for a hidden treasure chest in Old Town.
“We have about 10 bars and restaurants you can go to and get a drink and a clue. From those clues you can go find the treasure chest,” Rosetti said.
The finder of the chest will receive about $500 worth of goods, including liquor and gift certificates from downtown merchants and others. Tickets for the event are $20 and can also be purchased online.
Saturday - May 19
Pirate Day festivities kick off Saturday with the family-friendly Lil’ Buccaneers Parade, the first of two for the day. Walkers are welcome, as are wagons and strollers. Line up begins at 10:30 a.m. in the green space at the corner of Main and Second streets. The parade starts at 11 a.m. and ends at Pirate Central.
The costume contest follows the parade, also at Pirate Central. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the contest gets underway at noon. Prizes will be awarded in three categories: age 9 and under; age 10 to 16 and adults.
Lil’ Buccaneers can enjoy all sorts of fun and games in the Kids Zone at the foot of Main Street. There will be a waterslide, inflatables and games for kids.
From 3pm - 5pm, pirates and other celebrants can take a two-hour cruise on the paddlewheel Betsy Ann.
“We’re really excited about the Betsy Ann coming over from Biloxi for this cruise around the beautiful bay,” Rosetti said. The $50 cruise ticket gets you drinks, music and snacks.
“Once the Pirates land at the Municipal Harbor, the Pirate Golf Cart Parade will roll through Old Town,” Rosetti said. “No need to register, just bring your golf cart to the harbor (dress as Pirates) and enjoy the parade.
Pirates must be 21 years old to take part in the Pub Crawl and the Pirate Cruise.
The pirates will be going out with a bang. The festivities conclude with music and a fireworks show (thanks to sponsor Silver Slipper) by the Bay St. Louis harbor at 9pm.