Tawes Crab and Clam Bake 2009 in pictures and text

It may take me longer to compile the photos and captions than the actual length of time the event was actually held, but here goes. There will be 25 photos here but I’m saving a few I took for a post later this weekend.

The sign says it all.

Certainly the Crisfield event is known for drawing hot and cold running politicians. But 33 years ago there was another purpose for its beginning and it became known for great food, like some of these beauties:

A box of what the Tawes event was best known for before the politicians found it in the mid-1980's.

The melons and onion rings were pretty good, too. This year's watermelon crop seems to be quite flavorful.

And you can’t enjoy crabs without something to break them apart, nor is beer quite the same in a plastic cup. Those in the know also bring a small cardboard box cut to resemble a shallow pan to hold all the food (as for the crabs above) – forget plates because you won’t find any!

Thousands of promotional mugs and mallets await claiming and usage as the festival gets underway.

The other purpose for Tawes’ being was promotion of local businesses and tourism. Anytime you can get in the neighborhood of 5,000 people to the small waterfront town of Crisfield it’s a mini-boom for local businesses and a chance to advertise their wares, as the following several pictures aptly point out.

This event can be considered the Super Bowl for pushing economic development in mostly rural Somerset County, so it's natural they would have a presence at Tawes.

Somerset County's tourism bureau had a smaller presence and pushed maritime pursuits such as fishing.

If there were an award for creative use of watermens' equipment as fencing, this is the sure winner. Do you think crabs prefer yellow, red, or black?

Hebron Savings Bank is an annual presence at the affair, but I'm hopeful their accounting procedures are better than their spellchecking. Neat sign but grinning needs another 'n'.

Then you have those who don't mind hand-lettering to convey their message. Haven't been to Bistro 54 yet to check if that is really how they roll.

And judging by the size and spread I saw within this tent, the lobbying business isn’t hurting either.

Ironically, this Franchot supporter shared the large tent with the Republican parties from Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties.

Even the unions were represented. I wonder if they bargain this as a day off?

What surprised me most is that this tent wasn't much closer to the Democrats' tent. Maybe they like to spread out.

And of course the politicians were out in force. That’s what the Tawes event has become synonymous with and this year didn’t disappoint. But the event also draws other interesting people – where else can you see Miss Maryland USA?

Miss Maryland USA was certainly a photogenic attraction.

The media also covers this event like the seagulls which inevitably are drawn to the free food. These guys are the local media but we also get coverage from Baltimore and Washington, D.C.

Compiling that interview footage for Channel 47 looks like work. Being a member of the pajamas media, I wonder if they too got to eat while they were there?

While 2009 is considered an “off” year, there were candidates already laying the groundwork to compete in a primary still 14 months off.

In my travels about the Somers Cove Marina grounds I didn’t cross paths with Governor O’Malley (although he was there – see my postscript), but I did catch two who are out to unseat him, Mike Pappas and Charles Lollar.

GOP hopeful for governor Mike Pappas (center, in gray shirt) had a number of supporters clad in campaign T-shirts circulating throughout the event in an effort to build his name recognition.

His formal announcement comes next week, but Charles Lollar (pictured on the left with his lovely wife Rosha) also made an effort to introduce himself and gain supporters.

The other key statewide race comes for the U.S. Senate seat. Jim Rutledge, who as I noted a couple weeks ago had suspended his campaign, is now back in. (His re-entry is also noted on a comment to that post.) But he wasn’t in Crisfield, just his supporters who brought this literature:

I wouldn't quite go so far as to call it a snub, but Jim Rutledge missing this event could be considered a tactical error on the lower Shore.

Another U.S. Senate contender who drove down from Queen Anne’s County to push his campaign was Eric Wargotz.

Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eric Wargotz (left) poses with local Americans for Prosperity co-leader Julie Brewington. Maybe she's going to be on the ballot in her own right?

As you work down the chain to more local races, it’s noteworthy that our federal representation couldn’t attend because of their business. So none of the trioka of Congressman Frank Kratovil, Senator Barbara Mikulski, or Senator Ben Cardin could make it. That left the field open to Wargotz above and District 1 Congressional hopeful Andy Harris, pictured below.

He ran and barely lost in 2008, but Andy Harris (pictured on left) is trying again for 2010. Here he speaks with a couple voters.

As is always the case, the local representatives of both parties had their base of operations. The Republicans from Somerset, Wicomico, and Worcester counties combined their efforts and had a large tent in the center of activity.

Republicans held court in their usual spot in the center of activity, festooning their tent with a number of banners.

This little sign taped to the GOP tent was my favorite though.

I'm all for it - how about you?

As usual the Democrats tucked themselves away in a corner, which became crowded with their supporters.

The Democrats placed their tent along the water - maybe they get a better breeze. You may notice the guy in the blue AFSCME shirt in the center - they were far from the only union represented at and around the Democrats' tent.

One loyal Democrat relaxing because he’s fresh off an election and secure for four years was Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton.

Enjoying the day by the Democrats' tent with a couple friends is Salisbury Mayor Jim Ireton (right).

Some observers may argue he’s secure in his House of Delegates seat, but District 38B Delegate and former Ocean City mayor Jim Mathias still worked the Crisfield crowd – perhaps with sights on a higher office?

Delegate Jim Mathias (right) speaks to attendees at the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake. The talk is that Mathias may want to move up to the Maryland Senate, which would place Crisfield in his district.

One who would like to bump Mathias (or fellow Democrat Norm Conway) out of a House of Delegates seat is 2006 candidate Michael James, who’s trying again in 2010.

Republican District 38B candidate Michael James (left) talks crime with members of the Marylend Chiefs of Police Association.

Nor did the politics stop at the gate. My friends representing Americans for Prosperity set up shop just outside the event, catching many of those who came in with their message of limited government.

AFP members Nick Loffer (left) and Joe Collins (right) set up the AFP tent outside the gates of the Tawes event. Wonder how Julie Brewington drew the inside gig while they stayed outside?

As I said at the top, I have more pictures from Tawes which cover a political battle that’s not going to be fought at the ballot box but instead pits two old Eastern Shore foes – those in favor of progress against the NIMBY crowd. That will come on Sunday.

If you were at Tawes I hope this relives your enjoyment. Even though I’m not one who likes crabs I still enjoy covering the event and look forward to it each summer. One refreshing change this year was the weather, which was cooler and less humid than usual – so bet on a lot of humidity and (definitely) hot air at Tawes 2010.

Postscript: Julie Brewington passed along this photo of her and Governor O’Malley. She was handing him a Patients First flyer, which hopefully he took to heart (although I doubt it.)

Just to prove Governor O'Malley was at the Tawes Crab and Clam Bake, Julie Brewington passed along this picture. The Governor is on the left.

Look for him to be in full campaign mode next year.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

4 thoughts on “Tawes Crab and Clam Bake 2009 in pictures and text”

  1. I was surprized that many of the candidates did not let the rank and file know that they were going to be there. With the ease of email you would think they would have broadcasted their intentions.

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