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Buc Days in Corpus Christi May 2-12

The Stripes Carnival holds down the pirate ship for the entire 11 days of the annual Buc Days festival in Corpus Christi. This year’s Buc Days begins Thursday, May 2, and runs through Sunday, May 12. Courtesy photo

Buc Days begins when pirates officially take over the city by making the mayor walk the plank into Corpus Christi Bay. This year, Mayor Joe McComb will step into the water off the Red Dragon pirate ship at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 2, beginning 11 days of swashbuckling fun in the Sparkling City by the Sea. (Best viewing is by Joe’s Crab Shack at 444 N. Shoreline Blvd.)

Red Dragon pirates are actually a pretty entertaining bunch, which is why they are scheduled for two shows a night on the Buc Days stage at the Stripes Carnival at Water’s Edge Park. For sword fighting, sword swallowing, dancing, and live music, plan to be at the stage any of the following times:

• 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Thursdays, May 2 and May 9

• 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Fridays, May 3 and May 10

• 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 5:30 p.m. Saturdays, May 4 and May 11

• 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. Sundays, May 5 and May 12

• 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. May 2-May 9

Along with pirate antics, this year’s carnival, operated by Wade Shows, features more than 50 carnival rides, pig races, a petting zoo, pony rides, and a live concert series. Carnival hours are 5-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 5 p.m.-midnight Fridays; noon-midnight Saturdays; and noon-10 p.m. Sundays. Except for Dollar Night Thursdays, May 2 and May 10, when the gate and rides are $1 each, admission is $30 for all-you-can-ride wristbands; $6, adult single entry; and $4 child, military, and senior 65 and older single entry. On Mother’s Day, May 12, wristbands are $15.

When the carnival is open, the stage will be busy with a variety of entertainment, including Ballet Folklorico, Lucky Joe, Jake Ward, and Latin Talk. Telemundo Celebración del Cinco de Mayo takes the stage from noon-10:30 p.m. Sunday, May 5, with live music from Zamorales, Cris Perez, and Grupo Vision. For schedule and ticket information, visit bucdays.com.

Two of the year’s biggest parades in the city occur in celebration of Buc Days: The Navy Army Night Parade and the IBC Bank Junior Parade.

This year’s night parade features a new event and a new route. The parade, which begins at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 4, marches through the American Bank Center for Parade Pachanga, an indoor VIP viewing with open bar, complimentary food, a kids’ zone, and music by El Dusty and Scarecrow People. Tickets are available at bucdays.com.

The free part of the parade exits the convention center onto North Chaparral Street at Heritage Park then turns right onto Leopard Street to North Staples, where it takes a left and continues to its end at Buford Street.

The junior parade, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 11, stages along Main Street downtown. The march begins along North Shoreline Boulevard to Ocean Drive then moves onto South Shoreline Boulevard to end at the Stripes Carnival at Park Avenue.

No Buc Days is complete without its royalty. Las Doñas de la Corte coronation pageant is set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 2, at the Selena Auditorium in the American Bank Center. Tickets for “The Court of Magnificent Decorative Arts” are available at americanbankcenter.com.

Follow Buc Days on Facebook to keep up with the fun.

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