Activities for your visit

There be pirates here on Ocracoke

Murillo

Michelle Murillo with her authentic Port Royal artifacts. She will be part of Blackbeard’s Pirate Crew encampment on the Berkley Manor grounds on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Michelle Murillo.

Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree is setting up today.

By Connie Leinbach

Mary Read was one of two well-known women pirates in the late 1600s, and Michelle Murillo is carrying on her legacy.

“She was a large, in-your-face woman who wanted to live, and lived her whole life as a man,” said Murillo, who is a living-history reenactor at this year’s Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree.

The Jamboree kicks off today (Friday) at 7 p.m. in Community Center with a “Meet the Pirates” event, continues all day tomorrow, including a three-ship battle at 1 p.m. in Silver Lake, and concludes Sunday with the March to Springer’s Point where all the re-enactors remember the demise of Blackbeard off the waters here Nov. 22, 1718.

This year’s festival T-shirt sports a pirate woman in honor of the women pirates back then.

Back then, women had it tough, said Murillo, who has a booth at the pirate encampment on the grounds of the Berkley Manor.  

They couldn’t own property and if they didn’t have a husband, they had very few options.

So, Mary, who had been born in England and was raised as a boy by her mother, earned a living as a man.

Mary Read killing an antagonist. Photo by Wikipedia.

Mary Read killing an antagonist. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

She joined the British Navy and also then Army where she actually fell in love with another soldier. They married, and Mary was woman for two years until her husband died.

Though still in the military, there was no work “when peace broke out.” So, she jumped a merchant ship and traveled to the New World and went into to piracy.

“She was very good at it,” Murillo said.

Michelle Murillo as the pirate Mary Read. Photo courtesy of Michlle Murillo

Michelle Murillo as the pirate Mary Read. Photo courtesy of Michelle Murillo

According to Wikipedia, Mary Read (c.1690-1721) went by the name Mark Read. She and Anne Bonny are two of the most famed female pirates of all time.

They are the only two women known to have been convicted of piracy during the early 18th century, at the height of the Golden Age of Piracy.

Eventually, Mary was captured and died at the age of 31 of a fever in a Port Royal, Jamaica, prison.

Murillo’s booth has authentic artifacts from the famed Port Royal, which she said was known as “the wickedest city on earth” during that age of piracy.

Visitor to her booth will be able to handle the more than 40 artifacts on display: bowls, cups, musket balls, silver coins and more.

“I like hands-on,” she said about allowing folks to touch these ancient pieces. “Because, it’s like, Wow. This was in someone’s hand.”

Hailing from East Palatka, Fla., Murillo has been fascinated by Port Royal for the last 15 years and frequently joins groups such as Blackbeard’s Pirate Crew of Hampton, Va., who are one of several pirate/sea faring reenactor crews this weekend.  

She will describe the devastating earthquake that struck Port Royal in 1692 where a large part of the city sank.

“Of 6,000 inhabitants, 4,000 died,” she said.

Murillo, who has worked in radio, will be the MC tonight for the talk by Blackbeard historian Kevin Duffus and the “Pirate Follies,” where the pirate crews compete against one another with rollicking skits, stories, and tall tales.

Blackbeard's Pirate Crew of Hampton, Va., sets up camp on the Berkley Manor grounds. Photo by C. Leinbach

Blackbeard’s Pirate Crew of Hampton, Va., sets up camp on the Berkley Manor grounds. Photo by C. Leinbach

Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree is an event by the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association.

The schedule of events throughout Ocracoke Village is below.

Friday, Oct. 30 – Meet the Pirates!

Join us for an evening with the pirates!

Location: Ocracoke Community Center Admission $5 

Beer, wine, and refreshments available. 

Chris Suttle, a member of the Shadow Players, is Blackbeard. Photo by C. Leinbach

Chris Suttle, a member of the Shadow Players, is Blackbeard. Photo by C. Leinbach

7-10pm: Meet The Pirates! 

7:15pm: “Blackbeard: Revisited” Kevin Duffus, North Carolina’s Historian of the Year, updates on his stunning new research on the ever evolving story of Black Beard and his Crew. 

7:30pm: “The Pirate Follies!”

Laugh until you cry as the Pirate Crews compete against one another with rollicking skits, stories, and tall tales. You get to be the judge as there can only be one winner!

9pm: The Motley Tones: rollicking good music and fun

Your piracy education continues with the Motley Tones. Hailing from the famous sea port of Raleigh, their harmonious renditions of songs of love, and travel and the sea will help set the mood for the fabulous weekend of piracy ahead.  

Saturday, Oct. 31 – A whole day and night of fun! Yo ho!

Daytime events are located around historic Silver Lake Harbor

Rain locations TBD

10am-5pm: Festival Information, maps, and festival T-shirts at Community Square

10 amThe King’s Rangers muster!

Location: The King’s Rangers Encampment at Wahab House dockside

10am-5pm: The Pirate Encampment at The Berkley Manor :

 See what life was really like during the 18th Century: Living history exhibits, tavern games and pirate skits. Also, one of the largest private collections of historical pirate artifacts.

Location: The Pirate Encampment Berkley Manor yard

10am-5pm: Militia encampment — Interactive living history exhibits 

10am-5pm: Brigands’ Bazaar at the Wahab House: A marketplace of seafaring fine arts and wares.

 11am-5pm: View the Pirate Ships:

“The Meka II,” “The Ada Mae” and a Coast Guard cutter at the NPS docks; “The Ranger” at the Wahab House docks 

11am : The Shadow Players 

Swashbuckling excitement with the Shadow Players Stage Combat Group….Swords! Whips! Laughter! Experience up close and personal swordplay in an interactive show for the whole family!

Location: The Community Square

11am-5pm: Roving 18th century Minstrels, Pirates and Street Vendors 

Just as it was in the 18th Century- you might see the Oyster Lady or the Fishmonger hawking their wares while song breaks out down the street. Beware if you’re wearing your pirate gear; the militia will be hunting escaped pirates!

11:30am-5pm: The Pirate Encampment Beer Garden, sponsored by SmacNally’s:

Enjoy Good food and Libations at SMacNally’s, across from the Wahab House.

Community Park Beer Garden: across from Community Square

There’ll be pirates about! 

11:30am : Meet Black Beard!

It’s only fair that he gets to tell his side of the story! Plus, swordplay and fun.

Location: The Community Store porch

Noon: “What Was Blackbeard Doing at Ocracoke?” Author and Historian, Kevin Duffus

When the notorious Blackbeard, arguably the world’s most famous pirate, was cornered and killed near Ocracoke’s Springer’s Point, he was in the company of just 20 men and the only treasure found in his possession was some sugar, cocoa, cotton, and a mysterious letter. It was late November and winter was approaching rapidly. Why was Blackbeard lingering at Ocracoke? What was he waiting for? Blackbeard historian Kevin Duffus answers these questions and more. 

Location: The Community Store porch

1pm: The Battle at Ocracoke! 

At 1:00pm, Saturday, see for yourself the fierce ship to ship Battle of Ocracoke that determined Black Beard’s final fate. Cannons roar as three ships re-create that fateful day

Location: Great views all around Silver Lake and NPS docks

2:30pm : Scallywag School for Kids — for aspiring Young Pirates!

A chance for your kids to channel their “inner Pirate,” with 18th-century seamanship demonstrations, 18th-century games, and naval weapons and tactics.

Location: Pirate Encampment: Berkley Manor yard

3pm: The Motley Tones:

 Fun for the whole family! The Motley Tones will delight you with their dulcet harmonies and witty piratical humor. Sea shanties, pub songs, love songs and sailor songs—they carry out an oral historical tradition of telling stories through song up and down the East coast.

Location: The Community Square Stage

3pm: Pirate Craft Fun!

Come create fun pirate crafts on the front porch of the Ocracoke Preservation Society. Stop by for a chance to see Ocracoke Island’s rich history

Location: Ocracoke Preservation Society

3 to 5 pm Ocracoke Village Trick or Treat!

Visiting children are welcome to don their costumes and join the local young’uns for the island traditional Trick or Treat trek around the Lighthouse Road loop. And yes, it’s really that early and will be completely over by dark. Ask for more information at the Pirate Jamboree Information Tent in the Community Square.

5 pm: The Shadow Players, Sponsored by the Ocracoke Oyster Company:

Swashbuckling excitement with the Shadow Players Stage Combat Group….Swords! Whips! Laughter! Experience up close and personal swordplay in an interactive show for the whole family!

Location: The Ocracoke Oyster Company

6-9pm: The Bawdy Beer Garden, Sponsored by the Ocracoke Oyster Company:

Relax, kick back, and enjoy some great beer and be entertained by the Motley Tones and pirate friends. A vivacious and informal round-robin exchange of bawdy songs that date back hundreds of years is sure to make you blush. This show is rated “I” for “Innuendo,” which is PG-17 for you 21st-century types. So, put the little scallywags to bed first!

Location: The Ocracoke Oyster Company

Sunday, Nov. 1

10am – Noon: Springer’s Point Memorial Service for those killed in Blackbeard’s Last Battle

Join with us as the pirate and militia crews march to beautiful Springer’s Point to honor those who perished on that fateful day. The militia’s cannons will kick off the march as we head to Springer’s Point. Please feel free to join in at any point along the route. At Springer’s Point, listen as the eulogy is read and the hymns are sung. Watch as the wreath is laid on the sea, while the pirate ships fire a cannon salute from just off-shore.

Location: Start the march at the pirate encampment, Berkley Manor

Noon-1:30pm: The Pirate Lunch

Join us in closing out the Festival at a rousing brunch with the Pirates. Your chance to sit down with our pirate crews and enjoy a great meal. Don’t forget to save a seat for a Pirate!

Location: Howard’s Pub

Captain Sinbad and his first mate Lt. Brown, one of several living-history pirate re-enactors here for the weekend . The couple lives on their boat the Meka II, which will double as Blackbeard's boat, the Adventure in Saturday's Battle of Ocracoke in Silver Lake.

Captain Sinbad and his first mate Lt. Brown, one of several living-history pirate re-enactors here for the weekend . The couple lives on their boat the Meka II, which will double as Blackbeard’s boat, the Adventure in Saturday’s Battle of Ocracoke in Silver Lake.  Photo by C. Leinbach