Published: Jul 27, 2012 6:52 AM EDT
Updated: Jul 27, 2012 10:58 AM EDT

PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Blackbeard's ship has sailed into Charlotte Harbor and docked at Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda for the 4th annual Pirate Fest, July 27-29.  The Pirates of the Treasure Coast have come to pillage and plunder the shops and set up camp for the weekend. 

Buccaneers, scallywags, and wenches will be entertaining all who dare to stop by.  Pirate Fest will feature costume contests, weapons demonstrations, mock pirate battles, arts & crafts, and pirate themed food and music.  The Flotilla Invasion is always one of the most anticipated events of the weekend.  At high noon on Saturday, Pirates will invade the harbor and battle it out on the water with weapons blasting toward the shore and cannons firing back.

The event is free, but they encourage a donation of a "buck-n-ear" if you can (that's $2 and you can keep you ears).  A portion of the proceeds raised this weekend will go to benefit C.A.R.E. (The Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies).

If you're ready to walk the plank, or have an adventurous spirit, Pirate Fest runs Friday to Sunday.

Event Hours
Friday - 12pm - 6pm, Pirates Ball -  7-11 pm
Saturday  - 10am - 8pm, Flotilla Invasion - Noon, Fire Show -  8pm
Sunday - 11am - 6pm

A free shuttle service to and from five Free Parking Lots is being offerered aboard the Green Hibiscus Trolley.  The shuttle will operate Saturday, 9 am to 9 pm and Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm.  The shuttle runs every 15 minutes.  Three of the shuttle stop locations are directly across W. Marion Avenue:   Five Star Realty, The Visual Arts Center and Sun Trust Bank.  Two additional locations in downtown Punta Gorda;  one is near the Free Parking Garage at the intersection of W. Marion Avenue & Taylor.  The other is along W Marion Avenue at the Free Public Parking Lot near the Courthouse.  Shuttle Stop signs will be posted at each location.  VIP parking at Fishermen's Village is available for $5.00 per car.  General parking at the Village is free on a first come, first served basis.