Buc Days (short for “Buccaneer”) Festival and Parades is the longest-running pirate festival held annually in Corpus Christi, Texas. Every year since 1938, the festival and its numerous events are held downtown where many come to see the carnival, parades, roller coasters, rodeo, and live music, and it’s taking place this year from May 4-14. And don’t worry, attending a Texas festival based on pirate lore won’t cost you an arm and a peg leg (insert groan here.)
Things to Do
Buc Days in Corpus Christi: Once You Attend, You’ll Get ‘Hooked’
With thousands of attendees from not only Corpus Christi (and just over half of the city’s residents participate in at least one event) but throughout the state, Buc Days offers plenty of fun for the whole family. Since the very first such event, the Buccaneer Commission (a non-profit organization that annually stages the festival) has held to its tradition of bringing a quality event to the city, and since 1996, proceeds from the events go towards scholarships which the foundation awards to area college students.
This culturally diverse event has something for everyone, including a rodeo (and new this year is the rodeo concert series!), rodeo tailgate party, the Buc Days Illuminated Night Parade (where 160,000 people have lined the streets of Corpus Christi to watch for the Buc Days Pirate Queens and Buc Days King scholarship contestants on their float) and so much more great activities and fun times to be had! Each year, 20 area students are awarded $37,000 in collegiate scholarships from the proceeds of the Buc Days Festival and that’s definitely a cause worth getting behind.
One might ask what the history of this festival concept is, and Corpus Christi is proud to tell you. Their buccaneer past dates back to the 1800’s. Originally, Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda (a Spanish explorer) discovered Corpus Christi Bay in 1591. A little over 200 years later, in the 1800s, Jean Lafitte and his fellow gang of pirates became infamous for raiding and looting trade ships in the area and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. However, in 1814, Lafitte assisted General Jackson’s troops in defense of New Orleans during the War of 1812, and because of this, he and his fellow pirates received a full pardon from President James Madison. Following this, in 1821 Lafitte and said pirates moved to Corpus Christi, Texas, making it their permanent home. More than 100 years later, the city designed the Buccaneer Days festival to celebrate the beginning of summer in Corpus Christi, Texas, using their history as the lead-off premise. That was 1938, and the rest, as they say, is history. Plan to celebrate Buc Days in their fair Texas city, and bring your best pirate imitation with you! You never know who you might see “aye” to “aye” with.