As you drive along Route 9 in the area of Bay Avenue in Barnegat this Saturday, you'll notice a huge Pirate Ship blocking the Town's main drag to celebrate a very special annual event.

Barnegat is hosting Pirates Day, which recognizes the key role its town fathers played during the Revolutionary War. Gerry Thompson of the Barnegat Chamber of Commerce says "Barnegat was the home of the Patriot Pirates. The one's who raided the vessels to disrupt the supply lines of the British Troops. It's his contention that General George Washington couldn't have done it without them. "You know the settlers of Barnegat stopped the British from getting supplies to the northern area and helped America become free."

Thompson says they have Pirate reenactors coming from all over the Eastern Seaboard to celebrate. "We've got some coming from Pennsylvania, of course Valhalla's Pirates are based in Point Pleasant. We also have Pirates coming down from Long Island, Staten Island. The Sea Dog Band comes from out of the area also. So we do have a lot of different Pirates."

However, the event has become much more than a historical recognition but a major way of generating money to fund volunteer first responders and Township Food Pantries. Thompson says the event is free but it raises money from the over 150 vendors that sell their wares. He says Pirates Day has also become sort of a music festival with two band shells. One providing traditional Pirate music and other with local contemporary bands.

Thompson says Pirates Day has also been expanded this year. He says they're using another field for kids activities such as a trackless train and bounce houses. He says the Barnegat Police Department will also be providing canine demonstrations.

Thompson says there will also be historic trolley tours, a historic Captains house will be open and free shuttle service will be provided from the Township municipal lot and the rear lot of Saint Mary's Church.

Pirates Day runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. He recommends taking the Garden State Parkway to Route 9 and using the free shuttles.