Crabs + politicians + sweltering heat = Tawes
It's a Maryland thing.
Politicians -- including Gov. Martin O'Malley and former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr -- are among the hundreds of hot crab-pickers circling through tents and tables at the annual Tawes crab and clam festival in Crisfield on the Eastern Shore.
O'Malley called it a "must-attend event." Ehrlich, meanwhile, called it a "have-to."
"It's almost kind of a political rite of passage," O'Malley said. He arrived at 2 p.m. and, with a green-clad entourage, is still shaking hands and squinting in the sun.
Tawes is like a final exam for political aides, who do their best to tactfully and quietly steer competitive candidates away from each other. Ehrlich arrived essentially at the same time as O'Malley, but waited in the parking lot until "this stuff goes away," as Ehrlich spokesman Andy Barth put it.
When he did make his entrance, Ehrlich called the Tawes tradition "about as Maryland as you get... It's part of our political heritage." Ehrlich also continues to make the rounds this afternoon. The event ends at 4 p.m.
Organizers say they were expecting 6,000 people at this year's festival. Some other numbers: 41,000 clams, 300 bushels of crabs and a high of 94 degrees.