Annapolis Maritime Museum / 723 Second St / Annapolis, MD 21403
Contacts: Jeff Holland / 410 295-0104 / email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - Feb. 19, 2008
Annapolis Maritime Museum celebrates spring with Sock Burning
The Annapolis Maritime Museum will host its seventh annual Sock Burning ceremony to herald the first day of spring on Wednesday, March 19, 2008, at 5:03 p.m.
The tradition dates back to the mid 1980s when a Bob Turner, then manager of the Annapolis Yacht Yard, got tired of the winter blahs. He'd spent the whole season working on OPBs (other peoples' boats), all the while collecting metal filings, bottom paint grindings, sawdust, fiberglass fibers, and globs of paint, caulk, resin and filler in his socks. On the first day of spring one year, he took off his socks, put them in a paint tray, doused them with lighter fluid, and toasted spring with a long-neck beer while they burned. Traditionally, die-hard boaters wear deck shoes sans socks from the Vernal Equinox until winter arrives.* There are now sock burnings in other boating towns from Key West to Seattle.
The tradition has been commemorated in verse, which is recited every year:
Ode to the Sock Burners
By Jefferson Holland, Poet Laureate of Eastport, 1995
Them Eastport boys got an odd tradition
When the sun swings to its Equinoxical position,
They build a little fire down along the docks,
They doff their shoes and they burn their winter socks.
Yes, they burn their socks at the Equinox;
You might think that’s peculiar, but I think it’s not,
See, they’re the same socks they put on last fall,
And they never took ‘em off to wash ‘em, not at all…
So they burn their socks at the Equinox
In a little ol’ fire burning nice and hot.
Some think incineration is the only solution,
‘Cause washin’ ‘em contributes to the Chesapeake’s pollution.
Through the spring and the summer and into the fall,
They go around not wearin’ any socks at all,
Just stinky bare feet stuck in old deck shoes,
Whether out on the water or sippin’ on a brew.
So if you sail into the Harbor on the 20th of March,
And you smell a smell like Limburger sauteed with laundry starch,
You’ll know you’re downwind of the Eastport docks
Where they’re burning their socks for the Equinox.
Today, at the Maritime Museum, boaters recreate this rite of spring to commemorate all the unsung men and women in the marine industry who work so hard all winter so sailors and powerboaters can play on their boats the rest of the year through.
There is no entry fee for the event, but donations for the Museum capital campaign will be gratefully accepted. The ceremony will take place on the Annapolis Maritime Museum campus in Eastport, at Cap’n Herbie Sadler Park, behind the McNasby Oyster Company building at 723 Second Street. From Annapolis City Dock, take Compromise Street across the Eastport Bridge, turn left onto Severn Avenue, turn right onto Second Street, and stop before driving into Back Creek. The McNasby building is the last structure on the left. For more information, connect with the web site found at www.annapolismaritimemuseum.org.
*One exception to this rule: if on a given day the temperature drops below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind gusts over 17 knots, one can wimp out and don socks. This is known as the "Wimp-Chill Factor."