Annual Annapolis vs. Eastport Tug of War canceled

MRE Coach Phil Staller cheers on Ryan Csajko and the rest of the BB&T team tugging on the MRE side at the 14th annual Maritime Republic of Eastport's Tug of War vs. Annapolis and the World.

For the second straight year, the tug of war between Annapolis and the Maritime Republic of Eastport has been canceled out of public health concerns.

Organizers were forced to cancel the event, dubbed the Slaughter Across the Water, a good-natured challenge to determine bragging rights and raise money for charity, because of safety concerns about the 2,000 or so participants expected to attend. It had been scheduled for Nov. 6.


“There’s just no way to have 2,000 people in such a confined space safely, even outdoors. And nobody wants to tug with masks on,” said MRE Premier Harry Lockley in a news release.

Similar concerns forced the event to be canceled in 2020.


Lockley thanked the volunteers, tuggers and attendees who made the event a success in previous years and promised it would return when it was safe to do so.

Members of the Maritime Republic of Eastport crash a City Council meeting to declare "Tug o War" on Annapolis in 2019. The city is challenged each year by the group where a rope is stretched across Spa Creek and Eastport and Annapolis residents compete to win the contest.

Twenty-four years ago, the challenge was conceived when the city announced it would close the bridge over the Spa Creek that leads from Eastport to downtown Annapolis for a public works project. A group of residents declared mock independence from the city in the form of the Maritime Republic of Eastport. Each year, the group typically marches into City Hall chanting and waving bright yellow flags to reaffirm its autonomy and challenge the city to a tug of war that stretches across Spa Creek.

The MRE also hosts the 0.05K Bridge Run fundraiser, which was moved online in May because of the pandemic.