Published 8:44 pm Tuesday, May 20, 2014



This past weekend, the 15th annual Pirates on the Pungo in Belhaven was in full swing, bringing pirate-enthusiasts and some of the most colorful pirate characters from around the state.

It was a great time for families to come together and send their young to Mike Mealey’s (known as Mad Dog in the pirate community) Scalawag School. This was a perfect opportunity for young aspiring sea dogs to learn the ways of a pirate as well as score some really cool pirate gear, courtesy of Mad Dog.

The Motley Tones shared their catalog of pirate songs and sea chanteys with landlubbers of all backgrounds; Capt. Nitrate showcased his expertise in black-powder weapons; Capt. Ben Bunn and Capt. Horatio Sinbad sieged the town with their pirate ships; and pirates of all ages took over the town hall and kidnapped Mayor Adam O’Neal, placing him in shackles and escorting him back to Wynne’s Gut Town Docks to decide his fate.

Diane Lambeth and Jimmie Southerland, along with others, did a great job putting this event together and setting up a growing tradition.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the entire festival was the comradery amongst the visiting pirates. After talking with most of the pirates and seeing them interact together, it was clear that the pirate community, like any other, is a brother-/sisterhood.

These pirates give their time at festivals all over North Carolina to educate festivalgoers about pirates, yes, but more importantly, history. Sure, they love being pirates and it is appealing to dress up and act a part, but ultimately, these pirates are historians. For example, it was very interesting to listen to Graham Jones, ye Pirate Potter, as he talked about Blackbeard and the fragments of arguable history that he represents.

Also, these pirates say the most important reason they participate in these events is for the kids. That was the general consensus when talking to the pirates and even the mermaids present at Pirates on the Pungo — It’s all about the kids.