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Pirates to set sail off Belhaven

By Staff
Weekend event helps Pungo District Hospital
By EUGENE L. TINKLEPAUGH
Staff Writer
Hundreds of pirates will be converging on Belhaven this weekend and will be received with a hero’s welcome.
Town officials are banking on swashbucklers to bring plenty of plunder to unload in town restaurants and hotels and downtown shops.
The big draw calling sailors from the sea to the harbor town is the rejuvenated racing regatta that Pungo District Hospital Foundation is launching to benefit the private hospital.
The 2007 Pirates on the Pungo Regatta kicks off this evening with entertainment and a captain’s reception at Belhaven’s River Forest Manor.
Regatta organizers promise a weekend of fun and sailing with supporting festivities for sailors and non-sailors throughout Saturday and Sunday.
Sailing for every level of experience is available with weekend races, classes and recreational activities.
Cruisers who do not regularly race their boats can participate in a fun race Saturday. Young sailors (ages 18 and under) can register for free.
Bob Haynes, co-chairman of the planning committee for the regatta, estimated the three-day event would draw a couple hundred people to the area.
Pungo District Hospital receives no funding from the county or from any governmental body, Haynes said. A group of volunteers formed the hospital foundation, which organizes fundraisers to benefit the nonprofit hospital.
Haynes said that with more retirees moving into the area, the hospital is especially vital to the community.
Organizers hope to do that through ticket sales, racing registrants, T-shirt sales and a silent auction.
The first Pirates on the Pungo Regatta was launched in 1999 and continued each year for six years.
Town Manager Tim Johnson said the event is definitely a boon to the local economy.
But it also raises money to support a community beacon, he said.
Along with the regatta, the hospital foundation puts on golf tournaments and a brick campaign throughout its fiscal year.
Belhaven’s River Forest Manor is the anchor site for the weekend of events. The manor will provide dockage, accommodations and launch facilities at a reduced rate to regatta participants. RV and camper spots are available on a limited basis.
Following Saturday’s races, the Buccaneers Good Grub and Grog dinner and dance will be held at the John A. Wilkinson Center. The dinner will feature shrimp, grilled chicken, beer, wine and a cash bar. Carolina Beach Club and Island Time Entertainment will provide live entertainment, and Marvin Daugherty, WITN-TV’s chief meteorologist, will emcee.
Proceeds from the charity event will help the hospital with ongoing training and purchasing equipment.
Dinner tickets can be purchased at the Pungo District Hospital at 203 Water St. in Belhaven, or online at www.piratesonpungo.org.
For further information, contact Bob Haynes at 252-964-3442.