Sock Burning – An Annapolis Tradition
How did all this sock burning begin? In these parts, local boat and yachtyard workers now tend to don their classic dock shoes sans socks between the vernal equinox and winter. Some allowances are made for those with tender toes on days when temperatures dip below 30℉, where winds top 17 knots (about 20 miles an hour), a.k.a. the official Maritime Republic of Eastport (MRE) “wimp-chill factor.”
As Maritime Museum Director Emeritus, MRE Founding Father, and now West/Rhode Riverkeeper, Jeff Holland, recounts, the sock burning tradition began circa 1978, “thanks to Bob Turner, former manager of the Annapolis Yacht Yard. He spent winters working on ‘OPBs’ – other peoples’ boats.” At winter’s end, Turner found himself bedecked with crusty old socks, magnets for a variety of residual debris, dried varnishes, and fiberglass goop.
One day (coincidentally, the spring equinox), in a marked act of rebellion, Bob shed his noxious woolen socks, ambled out onto a neighboring pier with a flat paint-roller tray in hand, put the socks in, doused them with lighter fluid, and tossed in a match. This gallant feat of defiance could be seen (and smelled) for miles around. Capital-Gazette Newspapers quoted Bob Turner in 1992, “If you’ve got ’em, smoke ’em. But come early so you can get a good seat upwind. We’ll light a fire and have a friendly brew or two and say farewell to winter.” The rest is history.
The tradition faded once Turner moved away. But about 8 years ago, Annapolis Maritime Museum resurrected the event. A barrel of oysters, a shucking knife, and a couple lively bands have been added to the festivities and this has developed into quite the engaging fundraiser for the local non-profit. Additionally, we hear that the tradition has expanded up and down the east and west coasts.
On March 20th, we will be holding our very ow Almost-Annual Sock Burning & Open House. Yachtyard Manager, John Eger, a protégé of Bob Turner, will be our official master of ceremonies for the burning. Our event will be a simple one, closer to the “true” maritime tradition and tribute, and we invite you to come, celebrate spring, and bring your ratty ol’ cotton or wool socks!
FERRY POINT MARINA & YACHTYARD
Sock Burning & Open House
Rescheduled! Friday, March 23, 2018 from 4:30pm ’til 6:30pm
Please join us and celebrate the first(-ish) day of spring at our ramp!
Light Refreshments | Hot Fire | Welcome Spring
The Point Crabhouse & Grill will be open for drinks & dinner.
39° 04′ 06″ | 76° 30′ 44″