Outer Banks History Center launches Dare Coast Pirates Jamboree online exhibit

David-Stick, Julian Oneto, Rudolph Peele, Woodie Fearing and other buccaneers during one of the Dare Coast Pirate Jamborees. [photo by Aycock Brown, courtesy OBHC]

Staff at the Outer Banks History Center have created a new online exhibit honoring the Dare Coast Pirates Jamboree, an annual festival held on the Outer Banks from 1955 to 1964.

The Pirates Jamboree was conceived as a method of increasing tourism to the Outer Banks during the spring shoulder season from late April to May.

Traditionally, visitors had reserved their Outer Banks vacations for the period running from Memorial Day to Labor Day. But as the local economy began to rely increasingly on tourism, the Dare County Tourist Bureau wanted to come up with a gimmick to attract more visitors to the area in the spring season.

The answer was the Pirates Jamboree, a multi-day spring festival with numerous events such as dances, costume contests, races, competitions, exhibitions, and even the “world’s largest fish fry.” Locals dressed as pirates and essentially put on a weekend-long performance in an effort to attract visitors to the area.

Thousands of people traveled to the Outer Banks each year for the event, which eventually gained a reputation for its rambunctious revelry.

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A new online exhibit created by staff at the OBHC explores the history of this seminal event, from the height of its popularity in the late 1950s to its decline and eventual cancellation in 1964. The exhibit includes photographs, historical documents, film footage, artifacts, and music from the collections of the OBHC.

For more information on the Pirates Jamboree, you can explore the research guide created in conjunction with the exhibit, search the OBHC catalog for Pirates Jamboree materials, or visit the OBHC to view the original documents in person.

The OBHC is currently open by appointment only, Monday-Friday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. To make an appointment, call 252-423-5240 or email obhc@ncdcr.gov.

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This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.