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The history of Buccaneer Days

Buccaneer Days is one of the longest and most treasured traditions since 1938. A Corpus Christi tradition since 1938.
Posted at 3:00 PM, May 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-07 16:00:24-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In its 85th year, Buccaneer Days is the biggest parade and festival in the region.

It has been one of the longest and most treasured traditions since 1938.

Prior to becoming Buccaneer Days the celebration was originally known as "Splash Day", a time to celebrate the beginning of summertime in Corpus Christi.

Former Corpus Christi Mayor Henry Garrett spoke with KRIS 6 news anchor Clara Benitez to tell her more about the Corpus Christi tradition.

"The Mayor walks the plank and that is the signal for the next eleven days. Corpus is officially in Buccaneer Days," Garrett said.

Garrett has walked the plank five times as a council member, chief of police, and mayor.

Buccaneer Days originally started off as a pageant for beauty queens in the 1940s and in 1996, proceeds from Buccaneer Days have been awarded to students as college scholarships.

The Buccaneer Commission, through its annual events, raises funds to support education in the Coastal Bend. To date, the Commission has awarded over $1.4 million in scholarships and grants.

The event includes a carnival, rodeo and parades.

There is a long list of Buccaneer commissioners, board members, staff members and volunteers who work all year long to make each year a success.

Garrett shared one of his favorite memories of Buccaneer Days.

"It was about 1950. I was about 10 years old, and my father dropped me off at Leopard and Upper Broadway so I could watch the parade," Garrett said. "He worked at the hardware mattress office and he said after the parade walk down to the office and I'll bring you home. So, I'm 10 years old sitting there on a curb watching the Buccaneer Days by myself and I was really excited about that."

Buccaneer Days began on May 4 and runs through Sunday, May 14.