The Burning of the Socks: Birth of a Tradition

So if you sail into the Harbor on the 21st of March,
And you smell a smell like Limburger sautéed with laundry starch,
You’ll know you’re downwind of the Eastport docks
Where they’re burning their socks for the Equinox.

from “Ode to the Sock Burners” By Jefferson Holland, Poet Laureate of Eastport, 1995

Brad and John burning their socks (John Gresham/Va State Parks)

We took a bit of a chance at York River State Park this past Saturday.  We decided to use the Annapolis, Maryland tradition to kick-off our canoe and kayaking season.  The very idea of adults burning their socks seemed a bit silly.  But, I convinced my bosses that getting people to play with fire and water on the same day would bring people to the park. 

At Taskinas Point on the York River ( John Gresham/Va State Parks)

And did it work?  We had 39 paddlers on a day that started partly cloudy, became light rainy, and ended in downpours.  Of the guest, 24 of them were from the Hampton Roads Outdoor Adventure Meet-Up group.  Some of the others were from states as varied as Arizona and Vermont.  Had the weather been better, who knows how many would have turned out.  But my Chief Ranger, Brad Thomas, was well pleased with the attendance and told me, “There is no way we are not doing this again next year.” 

As with anything, there were some things we need to improve on.  But, a new tradition has been born at York River State Park.  The first Saturday of Spring we will celebrate the Equinox.  At Taskinas Point, we will burn our socks.

Check out Craig Leggette’s album of the event here!  Don’t wait until next year to come to the park and paddle.  Check out our paddling programs here!


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