The Burning of the Socks

March 16, 2014 @ 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
SC Maritime Museum
729 Front St
Georgetown, SC 29440
SCMM Member Fee: $25 / Non-member: $30
Melissa Small

Click on poster to purchase tickets.

Purge the pungent aroma of winter from your life at the third annual Burning of the Socks, and celebrate the coming of spring at the SC Maritime Museum.

Boaters commonly wear deck shoes sans socks until winter chills set in, and they can’t wait to set their toes free again when the weather warms up. The Burning of the Socks tradition began in the mid-1980s in Annapolis, Maryland, where Captain Bob Turner managed a boatyard. During cold winter months Bob wore socks while working on other people’s boats. By the end of the winter his socks were stiff with sawdust, bottom paint, caulk, fiberglass resins and other boat yard leavings. In other words, his socks would stand up when he took them off at night.

One year, on the first day of spring, Bob removed his socks, put them in a paint tray, sprinkled them with lighter fluid and set them on fire. Then he drank a beer to celebrate. And so the tradition began, and there are now sock burnings in coastal communities across the country. This year Bob is coming to the SC Maritime Museum in Georgetown as our special guest for The Burning of the Socks.

The South Carolina Maritime Museum invites you to celebrate the upcoming Spring Equinox with Bob Turner at the third annual Burning of the Socks from 4-7 p.m. on Sunday, March 16 at the museum, which is located at 729 Front St. in Georgetown. In addition to enjoying the fire, the ritual includes door prizes, a pig pickin’ with all the fixin’s and other delicious food; plus beer, wine and liquor. Those freed-up toes can get to tapping with bluegrass music performed by The Blue Plantation Band. The Master of the Sock Burning Ceremony will be Ed Piotrowski, Chief Meteorologist for WPDE News 13.

The cost is $25 each for members and $30 for non- (but soon to be) members. Proceeds will benefit the SC Maritime Museum.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the third Annual Burning of the Socks call the South Carolina Maritime Museum at 843-520-0111. Tickets may also be purchased online at

To commemorate the tradition, “Ode to the Sock Burners” was composed by Jefferson Holland of Annapolis in 1995. The ode is read every year when the socks are lit at coastal parties.

Here is our Georgetown version:

Them Georgetown boys got an odd tradition
When the sun sinks to its Equinox position.
They build a little fire down along the docks,
They doff their shoes, and they burn their winter socks.
Yes, they burn their socks at the Equinox.
You might think that’s peculiar, but I think it’s not.
See, they’re the same socks they put on last fall,
And never took ‘em off to wash ‘em, not at all…
So, they burn their socks at the Equinox
In a little ol’ fire burning nice and hot.
Some think incineration is the only solution,
‘Cause washin’ ‘em contributes to Sampit pollution.
Through the spring and the summer and into the fall,
They go around not wearin’ any socks at all,
Just stinky bare feet stuck in old deck shoes,
Whether out on the water or sippin’ a brew.
So if you sail into the Harbor on the 17th of March,
And you smell Limburger sautéed with laundry starch,
You’ll know you’re downwind of the Georgetown docks,
Where they’re burning their socks for the Equinox.

So gather up your crusty ol' winter socks, come to the South Carolina Maritime Museum on Sunday, March 16, and set your piggies free.

Tickets can be purchased at the SC Maritime Museum. For any questions call 843-520-0111.