Panama City Beach Pirates of the High Seas Festival


Ahoy Mateys!

Pirates of the High Seas FestivalThe Pirates of the High Seas Festival is held in Panama City Beach every Columbus Day weekend!

It’s a free (and family-friendly) festival, that’s super fun and if you have kiddos you’re sure to have a good time.

It’s also the perfect weekend to get some fun family photos together! Before you know it, the kids will be too cool to go on vacation with you any more!

It seems like almost every coastal town in Florida (like Panama City Beach) has it’s own version of a family-friendly pirate-themed festival.

For example, for over a hundred years, Tampa Florida has been entertaining land-lovers at the Gasparilla Pirate Celebration. Promising “pirates, parades, and piratechnics!” This event draws large crowds, and loyal followers return each year.

A little closer to Panama City Beach, the annual Billy Bowlegs Pirate Festival has been held in Fort Walton Beach since the 1950’s. So it was only a matter of time before Panama City Beach decided to ‘walk the plank’ and take the plunge…


Panama City Beach Pirates of the high Seas Festival Video


Shiver Me Timbers!

Panama City Beach Pirates of the High Seas FestivalThe Pirate Festival attracts vacationers during the cooler months of the Fall season. Columbus Day weekend means many families are looking for something fun to do during the three day weekend. Besides being just a short drive away for many surrounding states, Panama City Beach also has it’s beautiful beaches to draw people in.

According to Dan Rowe, President/CEO of the Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau “For us, [combining] pirates and Columbus Day was very strategic. Pirates over the long weekend, when many school kids are out, was a way to draw more families to Panama City Beach. We hope that folks throughout the Southeast, as well as locally, will come and hang out with us.”


Avast me Hearties!

Following the huge international success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies starring Johnny Depp, pirates have made a big comeback everywhere.

You can even see them at new attractions in Walt Disney World, Orlando. Even Ripley’s Believe it or not here in Panama City Beach opened a brand new pirate exhibit recently. Plus the beach has been home to Pirates Island Mini Golf for years now!

Pirates are a part of our history on the Gulf Coast.” According to Gary Walsingham of Ripley’s, who said his new pirate exhibit has already been popular with families.



Panama City Beach Pirates FestSo if you have kids, take advantage of the cooler temperatures and lower rates that come with the fall season. The Pirate Festival might just be the perfect excuse! It’s a great reason to come back to the beach and have some fun.

Year after year, there are always festive pirate parades and floats, live entertainers and performers, colorful costumes, and a fun, street party atmosphere.

It’s kind of like a kid-friendly Mardi Gras. But it’s still fun and cool enough to keep mom and dad entertained at the same time.



Pirate Festival Tips

If you plan to attend, then there’s a few things you definitely don’t want to miss fun activities including:

  • Treasure hunt and face painting;
  • Pirate-themed scavenger hunt;
  • Balloon making;
  • Costume contests;
  • Pet costume contest;
  • Live Music;
  • Fireworks Show.

Traditionally, the Pirates of the High Seas Festival’s always reach an exciting climax with a pirate showdown on the high seas and a spectacular fireworks show!

Keep your eyes to the skies! During past events, thousands of suspended beach balls have been dropped. Your kids will love trying to snatch them all up!


Pirates of the High Seas Festival Schedule

Friday 7th October 2016

Festival Village and Little Pirates Fun Zone 4:00pm Grand Theatre Plaza
Live Entertainment: Magic with Capt. Mayhem 4:30pm Center Stage
Kids’ Costume Contest 5:00pm Center Stage
Kids’ Parade 5:30pm Pier Park
Opening Ceremonies and Treasure Ball Drop 6:15pm Center Stage
Live Music: The Mighty Hurricanes 6:30pm Circle Stage
Second Line Parade 7:30pm Pier Park Drive
Fireworks 8:30pm Russell-Fields (City) Pier

Saturday 8th October

Festival Village and Little Pirates Fun Zone 10:00am Grand Theatre Plaza
Live Music: Rookie Riot 12:00pm Circle Stage
Live Entertainment: Magic with Capt. Mayhem 1:30pm Pier Stage
Invasion of PCB 2:30pm Pier Stage
Live Music: Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers 3:30pm Circle Stage
Main Parade 5:00pm Pier Park Drive
Live Music: Trop Rock Junkies 7:00pm Circle Stage
Fireworks 8:30pm Russell-Fields (City) Pier

Sunday 9th October

Pirate Village Opens 12:00pm Capt. Anderson’s Marina
Lil’ Pirates Dockside Fishing Clinic 12:00pm Capt. Anderson’s Marina Dock
Live Music 2:00pm Stage at Capt. Anderson’s Marina
Pirate Flotilla/ Grand Lagoon Water Fight 2:00pm Grand Lagoon
Treasure Hunt Winner Announced 3:00pm Stage at Capt. Anderson’s Marina
Live Entertainment: Magic with Capt. Mayhem 3:15pm Stage at Capt. Anderson’s Marina
Family and Pet Pirate Parade 5:00pm Stage at Capt. Anderson’s Marina
Live Music 5:00pm Stage at Capt. Anderson’s Marina
Fireworks 7:00pm Grand Lagoon


Photos from Past Pirates of the High Seas Festivals