The Ocracoke Pirate Jamboree 2017 Part 1

Checking in to Blackbeard’s Lodge on Ocracoke Island, NC, we knew a great weekend was in store.

As Amelia, the flying squirrel that owns me,  was checking out the most recent edition of the Ocracoke Observer, she spotted a photo of her Uncle John Collamore of Colonial Seaport Foundation.  

The paper was promoting all the festivities that were to be a part of the  Blackbeard Pirate Jamboree. 

amelia newspaper

On Saturday, I was going to be doing my presentation on The Wickedest City on Earth as well as M/C duties during the battle. Lawrence was there in the role of the Safety Officer for the Land Artillery as well as Cannon Maker, showing how bronze cannon are created.  But that’s getting ahead of the story…

Before the event could go on, there was a lot of set up to be done.  I don’t have too many pictures, as I was busy lifting canvas, but I did manage to get a picture of Henry, hard at work. See the lump in the first picture? That’s poor Henry. The little guy got all the ‘crawl under the canvas’ work.

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I had a genius moment, using our abundance of pumpkins to mark tent lines.

pumpkin tent

I have a knack for finding, and tripping over, tent lines. This was a great deterrent and looked quite festive.

Once the tents were up, it was time to shower, change and head to the Community Center for the Friday Night Opening Event.

I started the evening as the M/C, door host, and nanny to trouble-makers…

damon trouble maker

Photo By Natasha Jackson


But soon I would have a costume change…


On stage, the evening opened with the always-enjoyable music of the Motley Tones.

motley tones

Photo By Natasha Jackson


Followed by the Magic of Captain Jim


Photo By Natasha Jackson


And then, it was time for something never seen before – “Will The Real Blackbeard Please Stand Up.”

gmaeshow stage

Photo By Natasha Jackson


The show was created as a fun way to teach the fact vs. fiction of the notorious pirate, using the format of the old TV show “To Tell The Truth”.

The script was written by historian, author and Blackbeard expert, Kevin Duffus.  He was also the host of the game show.

kevin host

Photo By Natasha Jackson


After a quick costume change, I joined the cast, in the role of Kitty Carslile, joined by Helena Stevens of Blackbeard’s Lodge, JP Joordans of The King’s Rangers, and Capt Benn Bunn of the Ada Mae (Carolina Coastal Classrooms), in the roles of the other members of the game show panel.

game show panel

Photo By Natasha Jackson


Our job was to ask questions of three Blackbeards to determine the real  Blackbeard from the frauds.

In the roles of Blackbeard #1, #2 and #3 were Carl Cannon of The Cannon Crew, Clay Raines of the Shadowplayers, and Presenting the Past‘s own Lawrence Campbell.

3 blackbeards outside

The questions we asked the men ran the gamut – from inquiring about their starts in piracy, how many wives they had (which did not go very well for Blackbeard #1 , with multiple wives in attendance in the audience), about his legendary ‘smoking beard’, and more.  At one point, as I asked attempted to ask questions as Kitty Carlisle, Blackbeard #2 (Clay) broke into a lovely rendition of ‘Soft Kitty” which left both the panel and the audience bent over in laughter.

3 blackbeards on stage

Photo By Natasha Jackson

As soon as Clay knew he could make the panel break up laughing, the game was ON. He then began diligently working (and succeeding) to make us lose character, if not lose control of the whole script. Add on to that Lawrence’s antics, including relieving Blackbeard #2 of his pistols as he gave a speech and intentionally pronouncing Barbados – “Bar-Buh-Doze”  to watch Kevin roll his eyes, and it was a constant run of laughter. But,  believe it or not, a heck of a lot was learned about the famous pirate.

The show was such a hit, I had people come up to me to talk about it all weekend.

What a fantastic time! Wonderful script! Amazing Blackbeard actors!

It was a true joy to be a part of it all.  I laughed so much I gave myself a headache!


After the show I was able to wrangle two of the three Blackbeards for a picture.


Post Show

Now to wrap up with a final humorous ‘behind the scenes’ moment.

If you watched the show, you may have noticed Lawrence kept his hand by his face quite often. That’s because his mustache was trying to jump off of his face. The spirit gum wasn’t holding and the things he did to try to strengthen it caused it to loosen even more. His last ditch effort, was a piece of rolled up duct tape which you can see in this close up.


On the drive home, the mustache disappeared. But before he would let me remove the beard, he had to try on my hat with his ‘thinning facial hair’


beard coming off 1

To quote the song – “Oh what a night!”

Stay tuned for my blog on the Saturday Festivities!

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