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What's Up Magazine

Sock Burning

Mar 21, 2013 06:18PM ● By Anonymous

It's clear that spring is here, despite the March showers that sometimes look like snow to weathermen. And in Annapolis, that means a good old fashioned sock burning is in order.

To anyone from the outside, this tradition is as curious as they come. Socks, dirty ones at that, don't really seem the type of thing that belong at a ceremony. But on Wednesday night several hundred sailors got together down at Eastport Yacht Club to burn theirs and welcome in the new season.

Sock burning has been seen as a harbinger of spring since the late 1970s when Bob Turner, then manager of Annapolis Yacht Yard, decided to throw his into a paint can and set them on fire, toasting them with a cold beer. Turner was tired of the long winter, tired of demanding boat owners and scrubbing and sanding and painting until he was exhausted each night. When he burned his socks, he was saying goodbye to the cold days spent on land and hello to the warm days spent on the water wearing flip flops.

Because Annapolis is the kind of town that conducts business in sandals. To locals, socks are the ball at the end of our chain that we happily cut off in the springtime. When Bob Turner first set his socks aflame back in the 70s, he did it to show that he was done with winter and ready to start enjoying the sunshine.

We are, too. So forgive us if we step outside and fire up the old chiminea, crack open a cold one and set these awful socks on fire. It's a local thing.