Annapolis Prevails in Tug of War
It wasn't just Annapolis vs. Eastport as Eddie Bauer took on Watergate Village.
With Annapolis prevailing over Eastport in a 4 to 3 victory, there was trash talking all around as Annapolitans and members of the Maritime Republic of Eastport (MRE) went head to head in an annual tug-of-war competition.
The event, hosted on Nov. 6 by the MRE, is known as the "slaughter across the water." The 13th annual tug raised money for charities and local businesses.
A rope stretched from 2nd Street and Severn Avenue across Spa Creek to the Annapolis city dock. There were seven different tugging heats, with teams tugging away from across the water. Some of the heats included: Eddie Bauer vs. Watergate Village, Annapolis Bars vs. Eastport Bars, Army vs. Navy, and the Annapolis Police Department vs. the Annapolis Fire Department.
It also featured performances from the Eastport Elementary School band and Them Eastport Oyster Boys on the Eastport side, and Mutts Gone Nuts and Dean Rosenthal on the Annapolis side, among others. Food included a chili cook-off on the Eastport side and a crab cake cook-off on the Annapolis side. For the first time in the event's history, alcohol was served on the Annapolis side.
"The Star Spangled Banner" was sung and then members of the MRE listened to their very own Pledge of Allegience as it was recited by MRE Preimiere, Mike Pachler.
Then, the rivalry resumed.
Speakers were set up on both sides of the water and emcees from local radio station WRNR 103.1FM bantered back and forth from their respective regions as the tugging ensued.
Among the biggest races were Navy vs. Army and the Annapolis Police Department vs. the Annapolis Fire Department.
Navy, tugging on the Annapolis side, won. Adding pressure to the competition were members of the crowd. One onlooker shouted to the Mids, "If you wanna graduate, you'll pull."
Among those tugging for the Mids was Lance Gillespie, who said the win wasn't a surprise but the workout was.
"It feels real great. We knew we were going to beat them coming into it," Gillespie said. "Good God, it was a workout."
One of the highlights of the day was the competition between the police and the fire department, a grueling competition that went on for more than 7 minutes and ended in another defeat for the police.
"It was a good pull but our brothers beat us again," said Lt. Brian Antal.
There were some murmurings from the emcee that the fire department must have cheated.
How did this tugging tradition begin?
Pachler said the event started in 1998, shortly after the city of Annapolis closed the bridge that connects to Eastport.
The MRE's website elaborates further on this "act of aggression" and explains Eastport's secession, which led to the annual war. "The somewhat fractious citizens of Eastport, feeling the sting of rejection by the city and, perhaps, somewhat emboldened by the generous pouring habits of a local bartender, decided to declare war against the city of Annapolis and secede. Thus, to the rallying cries of 'Up The Republic,' the micro-nation known as the Maritime Republic of Eastport was born."