ST. MARYS — Pirates were once a scourge in Coastal Georgia.
Edward Teach, otherwise known as Blackbeard, is among the best known pirates who terrorized the coast, striking struck fear among colonists during the mid-18th century. Blackbeard Island, offshore from McIntosh County, is named after the hated pirate.
Now, a fledgling group of pirates is forming in St. Marys with a mission other than plundering, pillaging and pilfering.
Members of the newly created St. Marys Pirate Club will make their first public appearance Oct. 3 in the St. Marys Rock Shrimp Festival parade. They will all be in full costume doing things that members in the club are expected to do — having fun telling tales of pirate lore and sharing in the bounty they get through supporters. During the parade, some members will fire black powder pistols similar to those used by pirates 150 years ago.
Allen Haney, one of the organizers, said his group will participate in many public events and fundraisers as it continues to grow.
“We’re pirates for hire,” Haney said. “We’ll do kidnappings for surprise birthday parties and corporate events. A lot of the money will go to charities in town.”
Haney said the organization will also sponsor blood drives.
People throughout the region are invited to join the organization, which will be modeled after the pirate club in Fernandina Beach, Fla., which plays a major role in the city’s annual shrimp festival.
Crystal Glass, a former Fernandina club member, is one of the organizers for the St. Marys club.
She said the new club will have a booth at the Rock Shrimp Festival to share information about the club’s mission and the events they plan to participate in. Call 467-2211 for information.
But there’s more to being a pirate than simply joining the club and dressing in a pirate’s costume.
Haney said each person has an alter-ego that comes out after they play the role of pirate. He said he is still trying to earn the pirate name he will carry with him as long as he remains in the club.
“Everyone has their own pirate persona,” he said. “We have to earn our pirate names.”