'I have stolen all of their socks': Annapolis mayor launches video challenge before Saturday tug of war with Eastport

Rick Hutzell
Contact Reporterrhutzell@capgaznews.com

Pretty much up to this point, Eastport has had most of the fun in the annual across Spa Creek tug of war that has become a November ritual in Annapolis.

On Wednesday, Mayor Gavin Buckley posted a video aiming to challenge their title as funniest of them all.

“Yup, looks like they’re preparing over there ...” the mayor drawls, dressed in something loosely akin to 19th-century attire.

And with that, Buckley and John O’Leary launch into a riff accompanied by Queen about Saturday’s tug of war, complete with references to stealing Eastport’s socks — a nod to the spring neighborhood tradition of burning socks in preparation for boating season.

“I have stolen all of their socks. They burned them last spring. We set up a blockade so no more socks can go to Eastport so they will have to suffer through the winter with nothing to cover their feet …”

This year, Annapolis has put effort into programming fun surrounding the event on the City Dock-side of the creek. The long tradition of the tug — started as a promotional effort for Eastport businesses while the Spa Creek Bridge was closed for repairs — has had most of the music and other fun on the Eastport side.

Eastport has certainly had a long tradition of winning the event.

O’Leary, the Annapolis businessman who puts on the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade in the city, has been leading the efforts to reinvigorate the Annapolis side. In the one-minute, 34-second video posted on YouTube, Buckley calls him the “secret weapon of all weapons.”

Both participants offer acting skills that can best be described as woolen — get it, another sock reference.

Susan O’Brien, city spokeswoman, got into the spirit of competition with a reminder of the event sent out Friday.

“Don't even (bother) going to the Eastport side because all the cool kids and winners will be on the Annapolis side — City Dock. For the first time, the City of Annapolis is holding a HUGE party/event on the better half of the City because there's no reason why treasonists of Eastport should have all of the fun.”

The tug is announced each year when a delegation from the Maritime Republic of Eastport comes to the City Council meeting to announce it is succeeding again and challenges Annapolis to a contest across the “Gulf of Eastport.”

Teams participate in several heats, with the winner getting bragging rights and some sore muscles.

Events at City Dock start at 11 a.m., and the first tug is at noon. The spectacle is free, but a $75 ticket is available for VIP access at www.naptownevents.com/tug.

Over in the Maritime Republic of Eastport, tugger registration at 10:45 a.m. For more information, visit www.themre.org/tug-of-war.

Victory celebrations continue until about 6 p.m. The event raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities each year.

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