- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 2, 2002

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A community group that has "seceded" from Annapolis and the Union is sponsoring a charity tug-of-war across a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
Hundreds of tuggers and spectators are expected at today's fifth annual "Slaughter Across the Water" a series of tug-of-war contests across Spa Creek in downtown Annapolis hosted by the Maritime Republic of Eastport (MRE).
MRE Vice Premier Jane Cox, a co-chairman of the event, said the tug-of-war was first held in 1998 to raise money for charities in Eastport, a waterfront community in Annapolis, and has been expanded this year to include charities in and around Maryland's capital.
"It's all about the community," said Ms. Cox.
The city of Annapolis in 1998 closed the Compromise Street bridge (aka the Eastport bridge) for repairs, cutting off the peninsula community from the downtown area, Ms. Cox said.
In a tongue-in-cheek effort to draw attention and commerce to the area, business owners and residents staged a "mock secession" from Annapolis and the United States, complete with Revolutionary War re-enactors, and established the Maritime Republic of Eastport, she said.
The Republic, currently led by Premier Mike Raab, is a nonprofit group that conducts fund-raising events for charities, of which the annual tug-of-war is one of its largest, Ms. Cox said.
Nine teams of 20 to 30 pullers have entered this year's contest, which is expected to attract 1,500 to 2,000 people and earn $25,000 for local charities, the vice premier said. Last year's event featured six teams and made $20,000.
Ms. Cox said Yale Cordage in Biddeford, Maine, built and donated the $20,000 rope for the first tug-of-war in 1998.
The tug-of-war which will feature the event's first battle between Army and Navy pullers will commence "at the crack of noon" between the City Dock in Annapolis and the Chart House restaurant in Eastport across Spa Creek, she said.
With permission from the U.S. Coast Guard, the Annapolis Harbor will be closed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to accommodate the event, Ms. Cox said. Afterward, the first annual TugFest a block party will be held near the Chart House.

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