Annapolis sock burning with Governor Hogan and First Lady Yumi Hogan. Photo by Capital Gazette.

Only in Maryland: The Annapolis Tradition of Sock Burning

03/01/2020
By Preservation Maryland

Due to concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Annapolis Maritime Museum has canceled this year’s Oyster Roast and Sock Burning.

After a particularly snowy winter in 1978, Annapolitan Bob Tuner was anxious to shed his socks with the arrival of spring. He invited his colleagues to celebrate the end of winter by burning their socks after work, a symbolic goodbye to winter as the group of boat builders, sailors, and watermen intended to forgo wearing socks until the cold weather returned; and so a tradition was born.

The tradition has come to be celebrated every year on the Vernal Equinox, the day signaling the beginning of Spring and, more importantly in Annapolis, boating season. The Eastport Yacht Club and the Annapolis Maritime Museum continue to observe this tradition and, with the assistance of social media, sock burning has caught fire across the country it is now celebrated from Pacific Northwest to New England and even in land-locked areas of Pennsylvania. These days,  the annual Sock Burning event has become quite popular and includes an oyster roast, food vendors, activities, and exhibits highlighting maritime heritage.

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This post was prepared by Rachel Rettaliata, one of Preservation Maryland’s Waxter Interns. Rachel’s work with us focuses on communications and advocacy. She is a Fulbright Scholar and student at the University of Texas. Learn more about Rachel and our intern program here: presmd.org/waxter.

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