John’s Pass celebrated its rich pirating history with the annual three day “Pirate Days” festival. The festival honors the discovery of John’s Pass by John Levique who, according to legend, was a French peasant boy, forced to take up a life of piracy after the Spanish sailing vessel, on which he was a cabin boy, got hijacked by pirates. He rose up through the ranks, eventually becoming a pirate captain himself. After retiring from his life of piracy on the high seas, Levique became a turtle farmer, and was set to take a shipment of turtles to New Orleans and return to his treasure buried on the West Coast of Florida, but the hurricane of September 1848 had other plans for him. Upon Levique’s return, he found the hurricane had split the land by its massive gale force winds, and so he sailed through the new pass, which has been known as John’s Pass ever since.
Pirate Days also offers education on hurricane preparation, by providing a hurricane expo where people can educate themselves on safety.