The Maritime Republic of Eastport shows Annapolis that even if the bridge is closed they can still have fun!
What a day for a rebellion-the Spa Creek bridge was under construction (and for that matter, so were most of the other bridges in Annapolis), summer was coming to an end, and the Maritime Republic of Eastport was itching to show “Westport” what they thought about this latest round of bridge tinkering. And what better way to revolt than to get decked out in MRE regalia and race around Horn Point to Annapolis in dinghies?
MRE’s first annual Dinghy Poker Run took place on September 11th, sending about 15 boats of dedicated “Eastportoricans” to local businesses in both Eastport and Annapolis in pursuit of playing cards for poker hands. At each stop, players drew a card to add to their hand, and at the last stop (Eastport’s Boatyard Bar & Grill) they turned their hand in for prizes.
The idea for the event started with Brooke Perkins, current premier of the uppity republic. After hearing about a dinghy poker run on Middle River he started pushing the idea as an MRE event. He tested the course in his own dinghy to make sure it could easily be done within an hour or two. And with the bridge under construction, the timing was perfectly symbolic: The MRE was born in 1997 as a sardonic commentary on a protracted bridge closing that year. “It’s a seven-year itch,” noted Perkins, “and it wakes people up in the MRE before the annual tug-of-war, so we can get the money to start promoting it.”
Decked out in MRE attire-or in the case of Mike Hollinger, Mike Dean and Milton McMahon, full army fatigues and war paint-the poker players displayed typical Eastportorican silliness. Dinghy drivers flew skull-and-crossbones flags, raced around Horn Point, tried to pass off a Nordic Tug as a dinghy and showed off their MRE pride in every Annapolis bar between the poker stops at Phillips and Uncle Bob’s Fudge shop. Once all the players arrived at the Boatyard Bar & Grill, beer began flowing (or continued to flow for some) and the poker hands were tallied. “This is a really great time,” said Flip Super, of Alexandria, Va. “What a nice opportunity for businesses to take part in a community event.” Super and her friends came from Northern Virginia to join a friend from Edgewater, Md., for the event.
When Marilyn Henderson was ready to announce the prizes, she roused the crowd by saying, “We want Annapolis to know that we are revolting since they closed that darn bridge!” And as Mike Raab accepted his gift certificate to Phillips for his winning four-of-a-kind (queens), the crowd began to chant “M-R-E! M-R-E!” in honor of another successful separatist movement.