FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (WKRG) — COVID-19 forced the city of Fort Walton Beach to make the difficult decision to cancel their fan-favorite Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival last year. However, it’s back in full throttle, and residents didn’t second guess about attending.
This will be the 65th annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival, and they did it a little bit differently this year.
Fort Walton Beach Mayor Dick Rynearson says, “It brings more focus to our downtown merchants rather than a party in the park so to speak. It’s more of a part downtown.”
Although different and not in the summer as usual, it didn’t stop the crowds of people to come out.
One resident says, “I like that the weather is cooler. I like how there isn’t as many tourists here. So it’s more of a local event and I like how they have included all the downtown businesses here.”
Locals tell us they got everything they expected, too. From the famous walk out of the pirates to the confrontation with the mayor to take over the land. Locals say it means more to them than people know.
“There’s like real history attached to it. It’s not just all fun and games,” one resident tells WKRG.
They want to remind attendees they will also still plan on having their Torchlight Parade Monday, May 3.
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