Pirates of the High Seas Festival sails back to Panama City Beach with added Renaissance Fest

PANAMA CITY BEACH — The annual Pirate of the High Seas Festival returns to Panama City Beach with a newly added Renaissance Festival, promising a weekend of fun for the whole family. 

The 12th annual festival sets sail Oct. 7 in Pier Park, inviting pirate fans to enjoy online and in-person activities, including a digital pirate costume contest, an in-person and online treasure hunt, parades, live music, fireworks, and Renaissance vendors through Oct. 9.

Hosted by Visit Panama City Beach, the three-day festival celebrates the legacy of the pirates who once roamed the Gulf of Mexico and pillaged the Emerald Coast, telling the tale of Dominique Youx and his krewe of loyal buccaneers through staged pirate battles and storytelling.

The 12th annual festival Pirates of the High Seas Festival sets sail from Oct. 7-9 in Panama City Beach.
The 12th annual festival Pirates of the High Seas Festival sets sail from Oct. 7-9 in Panama City Beach.

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This is a free and family-friendly festival, and attendees are encouraged to come dressed in their best pirate gear.

"We are thrilled to host this year's Pirates of the High Seas Fest with the exciting introduction of the Renaissance Festival," said Dan Rowe, president and CEO of Visit Panama City Beach. "This is one of our most fun and unique fall events here at the 'REAL.FUN.BEACH.' and we have an fun-filled schedule of pirate and medieval-themed adventures for families to enjoy."

As the festival has shown significant growth over time, adding the Renaissance festival was key to growing the event. Visit PCB's Special Events and Operations Manager Patrick Stewart said the festival has drawn close to 20,000 attendees in the past.

The Renaissance festival will be held all three days at Aaron Bessant Park with plenty of entertainment for the whole family. Organizers said guests could expect everything from live mermaids, stilt walkers, fire jugglers, magicians, dancers, merchant vendors, food trucks and a lot of renaissance-themed activities.

The 12th annual festival Pirates of the High Seas Festival sets sail from Oct. 7-9 in Panama City Beach.
The 12th annual festival Pirates of the High Seas Festival sets sail from Oct. 7-9 in Panama City Beach.

"We decided to add the renaissance portion to the festival this year to grow it more, it will be focused on all things renaissance and we hope everyone gets a chance to experience it," Stewart said.

Schedule Friday, Oct. 7

Festivities kick off Friday afternoon as the Festival Village & Little Pirates Fun Zone opens with live music playing at Aaron Bessant Park by The Mead Sisters & The Masked Marauders. The Kids Parade and Pirate Crawl Parade follow behind on Pier Park Drive.

Also on Friday, opening ceremonies and Treasure Drop will be held at the Center Stage, with live music from The Bryne Brothers performing shortly after. Then, wrapping up the first day is fireworks from the Russell-Fields City Pier.

Schedule Saturday, Oct. 8

The event continues Saturday morning, starting with the Pirates of the High Seas 5K Run/Walk at Frank Brown Park, 16200 Panama City Beach Parkway. The Festival Village and Little Pirate fun zone will be available all day for the kids.

Saturday's music performances feature shows from The Mead Sisters & the Masked Marauders, Captain Davy & The Crossbones, Anthony Peebles, Tom Mason & The Blue Buccaneers and The Bryan Brothers.

Other activities include: Pirate Pub entertainment, Pirate invasion & Battle for Panama City Beach, a fireworks show and The Main Parade presented by the Krewe of Dominique Youx – Bay County's oldest Mardi Gras organization.

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Schedule Sunday, Oct. 9

Live music acts and more fun are lined up for Sunday as the festival wraps up its celebrations.

Throughout the day, the Festival Village and Little Pirates fun zone will be available for kids, Fire Circus Productions will provide live entertainment along with more live music by Captain Davy & the Crossbones and The Mead Sisters & the Masked Marauders.

Also, guests will have the opportunity to navigate their way through the treasure hunt for the chance to win tickets to the SkyWheel Panama City Beach attraction.

The Pirates of the High Seas Festival started as a block party in July 2010 with the beach ball drop to help draw visitors after the 2010 BP oil spill. The following year it was moved to Columbus Day weekend to become the annual festival it is now.

Jayna Leach, senior vice president of marketing for Visit Panama City Beach, said the festival had grown ever since and anticipates continued growth through the years.

"With the popularity of pirates and all the aspects of entertainment we include each year, we expect that it will keep growing over time," Leach said. "We love seeing all of our visitors come to dress up each year and participate in all the fun for the weekend and can't wait for this year's celebrations."

For more information about this year's Pirates of the High Seas & Renaissance Festival, or to view the full schedule of events, visit VistPanamaCityBeach.com.

This article originally appeared on The News Herald: Pirates of High Seas Fest 2022 returns to Panama City Beach