Annapolis’ Oyster Roast & Sock Burning Tradition
Get a true taste of Annapolis at the Annual Oyster Roast & Sock Burning – held each year at the Annapolis Maritime Museum – and become an honorary Annapolitan for the day. Celebrating what’s in the water and those on the water is what this Eastport gem does best, and they are sure to show it off at this annual party on the beach. A general admission ticket will get you all the raw, roasted, fried and steamed oysters you can handle on March 24th from noon to 4 p.m. What better location to indulge in these briny dishes than the last oyster packing plant in Annapolis?
You may be asking yourself what oysters have to do with socks. It’s a valid question, and one that (fortunately) has a pretty good answer. The original socks in question belonged to a local yacht yardman in the 1970s. Fed up with winter, he decided to have a few drinks and rid himself of the fuzzy (and perhaps ripe?) necessities of winter in a bonfire around the Spring Equinox.
This curious ritual took place in Eastport, a neighborhood historically occupied by watermen (the folks who harvest oysters from the Bay). As the local ambassador for the area’s maritime history, the Maritime Museum has continued the tradition in style since 2010.
If you’ve always fancied yourself an aspiring food critic, you don’t want to miss some of the area’s favorite oysters during the People’s Choice event. Even though participating tickets are sold out for the tastings, it’s a great way to discover the great dishes being served up in the Annapolis area.
The line-up this year includes:
- Blackwall Hitch
- Chart House
- Skipper’s Pier
- Main & Market
- Be My Guest
- Palate Pleasers
- Bowl of Cherries
- Creative Cusine
Everyone knows a good oyster is best paired with an even better Bloody Mary; this year, George’s award-winning Bloody Mary mix (spicy or mild) will be served chilled – just ask for your favorite spirit (Tito’s, please), and voila! If a Bloody Mary isn’t your style, grab a Dark & Stormy with rum from Maryland’s own Lyon Distillery or hit up the beer truck.
A few local food trucks will also be on hand to supplement the oyster indulgences, so have no fear if you aren’t a fan of that most famous, local bivalve.
The main attraction at the Oyster Roast is, of course, the sock burning. A clever rhyme is read while people gather around the fire close to the water’s edge. After the first ceremonial sock (tossed by the governor), it’s a free-for-all. Take your turn and watch them burn!
Throughout the afternoon, live music courtesy of the Eastport Oyster Boys will put you in a tropical state of mind as you welcome warmer weather. There will also be an oyster shucking contest for those with a competitive streak. Master shuckers will be around to show you how it’s done. If you really want to win, YouTube those oyster-shucking tutorials now, but be warned, it’s not as easy as it looks!
In between the festivities, take an electric boat tour of Back Creek or learn more about the connection between oysters and watermen inside the Museum. Photos by local artist Jay Fleming are currently featured in the Museum’s gallery. Check them out for stunning depictions of life on the water and the creatures that call the Bay home.
Get your fill and #BurnYourSocks on March 24th! The event starts at noon and runs until 4 p.m. The best part? All proceeds from the event benefit the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park’s award-winning education programs.
People’s Choice tickets run $75. (These sell out each year, so hurry!) General admission tickets are just $25 per person in advance, and $30 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free. All tickets are available for purchase online through What’s Up Tix.
Get prepped: Read more about sock burning etiquette.
This blog was graciously written by Sydney Bloom of the Annapolis Maritime Museum.