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PirateFest celebrates history, local arts and pirate entertainment

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Around eastern North Carolina you may have noticed some pirates, ships, swords, and even cannons. No it's wasn't Halloween, it was PirateFest in Uptown Greenville.

The 7th annual festival featured all sorts of pirate-themed activities, like pirate school, where kids got to learn what it takes to be a buccaneer.

Swashbucklers also showed off their musical skills, buccaneer tools, and cannons.

Historian Roger Kammerer says PirateFest is a great time to share eastern North Carolina's rich pirate history; especially, that of the most well- known pirate in the East. Edward Teach, or Blackbeard.

"Blackbeard was from around Ocracoke, North Carolina was base of all the rivers for a number of Pirates. There was even a tale that Blackbeard had a sister that lived up near what is now Grimesland and he would come visit her there, so there is always been sort of a fascination with Pirates or Blackbeard."" Said Kammerer

The festival also featured games, music, BMX fest, and several vendors. Those looking to rest their feet, could climb aboard the Jolley Trolley for a historical tour of Greenville.

Another goal of PirateFest was attempting to break the Guinness World Record for people dressed as buccaneers. Dozens of people dressed in their pirate best to help break the record, but they fell short.

This is the second attempt at making the record books. Hastings, England currently holds the honor with more than 14,000 people dressed up as buccaneers in one location.

Though there were plenty of activities to choose from, Moody Crew Pirate, Al Chewning says you can't hide from the pirates.

"You'll see purple and gold pirates. You'll see long haired pirates and short haired pirates. You'll see lady pirates and pirates of all ages," said Chewning.

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It's time for the 7th annual PirateFest.

The festival takes place in Greenville this weekend, April 12 and 13.

It all gets started Friday with a live music concert, Buccaneer Bash, from 5 to 8 p.m. That's at the corner of 3rd and Evans Streets.

Then on Saturday, the celebration continues at 10 a.m. along Evans from 5th to 1st Street and on the Town Commons in the Uptown district.

PirateFest offers fine arts and crafts for sale, two live music stages, a "grog garden," pirate entertainers, and a Parade of Pirates. There will also be a Guiness World Record attempt for the largest gathering of Pirates. Also on tap, a Pirate Encampment, an inflatable pirate ship for children, and other kids's activities, crafts and games.

Other highlights of the weekend festival include, the Potash Corp Fossil Dig, free kayak rides sponsored by the Pamlico- Tar River Foundation, and a variety of food and entertainment from around the world at the International Ports O' Call on the Town Common. Returning this year, GreenFest will be joining in the celebration with eco-friendly booths.

There will also be Greenville Utilities bucket truck rides, a chainsaw artist demonstration and the Protown BMX stunt show.

Dozens of food vendors will be on hand, including Shore to Door shrimp burgers, barbecue from The Skylight Inn and sweets from Fleur Delicious.

PirateFest is organized by Uptown Greenville, the City of Greenville, Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge, Greenville Convention and Visitor's Bureau and other community sponsors.

For more information about PirateFest 2013, visit www.piratefestnc.com.

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