Tilghman Island Day helps celebrate waterman’s ways
Rowboat races, anchor tosses and more at 46th annual event
TILGHMAN — The 46th annual Tilghman Island Day was well attended Saturday, Oct. 20, despite overcast skies and the threat of rain. Visitors from all over, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, came to take part in watermen’s events and spend the day on the island.
Activities for Tilghman Island Day, sponsored by the local volunteer fire company, spanned the entire town. Live music by Bird Dog & the Road Kings and various vendor booths were featured at Kronseberg Park. Watermen exhibits were on display at Tilghman Elementary School. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. guests could sign gospel music at the Tilghman Methodist Church.
A wide variety of local seafood was available during Tilghman Island Day, including fried clams, fried oysters, oyster fritters and crab cakes.
Rowboat races and anchor-throwing competitions were unrivaled in popularity during Tilghman Island Day. A standing-roomonly audience packed into Dogwood Harbor for both events.
Rowboat races consisted of four heats, first with a race between women’s entrants, then men’s. Contestants were required to
row about 50 yards to a large orange buoy, turn and race back to the dock.
The anchor-tossing competition was divided between kids, women’s and men’s classes. Competitors stood at the edge of the dock and slung large, multipronged anchors as far as they could, then measured the distance on a line attached to the anchor.
A boat-docking contest, workboat races, and crab- and oysterpicking contests also were held. Races required captains to reverse their vessels as quickly as possible into designated slips.
Tilghman Island Volunteer Fire Company Secretary Linda Gottleib, the chairman of the event, said Tilghman Island Day is a way to honor the town’s watermen while raising funds for the local fire department. Gottleib said throughout her 20 years working the event, the average amount of money raised for the department is about $40,000.
“It goes towards parts and stuff like new vehicles, equipment, the running of the fire company,” Gottleib said.
Gottleib said Tilghman Island Day also is reliant on the community, which is essential to the event’s success.
“I enjoy it, and I enjoy raising money for the fire company,” Gottleib said. “It’s a group of great people who come out and volunteer. Without the help of the community and other places, the fire company wouldn’t be here.”
Capt. Wade Murphy, skipper of the Rebecca T. Ruark, has been part of the area for years. Murphy said the Rebecca T. Ruark is the oldest working boat in the nation at 132 years old, first put in the Bay in 1886.
Murphy said Tilghman Island Day is the largest fundraiser for the fire department and is not unlike many of the other area’s days celebrating watermen, including Queen Anne’s Day and Deal Island Day.
Murphy’s favorite part? Watching the boat-docking competitions.
“It’s the biggest fundraiser they have, and it’s good if we get good weather,” Murphy said. “Its been a good day.”
An entrant in the anchor-tossing competition sends his toss into the Bay during Tilghman Island Day Saturday, Oct. 20.
Locals climbed to the bows of their boats for prime seating for the anchor toss and rowboat competitions during Tilghman Island Day Saturday, Oct. 20.
The women’s heat of the row boat races at Tilghman Island Day Saturday, Oct. 20. Pictured are Kathy Frazoni, Cara Friebum and Lauren Hall.
The beginning of the second men’s heat of rowboat races at Tilghman Island Day Saturday, Oct. 20. Pictured are Justin Homick, Danny Succar and Daniel Lupton.
Capt. Robert Newberry was the emcee for the watermen’s competitions at Tilghman Island Day Saturday, Oct. 20. Newberry is a representative of the Delmarva Fisheries Association.
Kitchen staff are hard at work during Tilghman Island Day Saturday Oct. 20.
A contestant flings an anchor into the Bay for the anchor toss competition during Tilghman Island Day, Saturday, Oct. 20.