Local merchants stock up on products for triathletes and families


Choptank Charlies’ crab bouys

This will be the second year that Dorchester County hosts the IRONMAN Maryland triathlon, and excitement is building. Several merchants are getting ready by creating and stocking up on souvenirs, gifts, and fun items to appeal to the more than 2,000 triathletes and their families and friends who will be coming with them.

Here are a few highlights:

• Crab buoys: Jack Helgeson repurposes abandoned fishing buoys from the Choptank River and the Chesapeake Bay — and transforms them into adorable crabs, fish, turtles, and more for inside or outside use. So far he’s rescued about 1,900 buoys, keeping them from polluting waterways or ending up in a landfill. For each crab sold, Mr. Helgeson will donate $20 to IRONClub Maryland, the booster club for the triathlon. Find them at Choptank Charlie’s, 533 Poplar St. in downtown Cambridge.

• Towels: Carol Levy at the Wine Bar had tea towels created with the words “IRONMAN” and “Cambridge,” along with an illustration of a crab. (Many of the IRONMAN Maryland triathletes have been referring to themselves as “crabbies.”) The Wine Bar is located at 414 Race St. in downtown Cambridge.

• Tattoos: Finishing an IRONMAN is a huge achievement, and some triathletes commemorate their accomplishment with a tattoo. Black Anchor Tattoo has been working up some special designs for IRONMAN Maryland finishers. Their tattoo artists can also create custom artwork. Find them at 437 Race St. in downtown Cambridge.

• Lighthouse prints: Word has it that the Choptank River Lighthouse — which stands at the finish line of the triathlon this year — will be featured on the finisher’s medal. The lighthouse is also featured in various artwork around town, from postcards and serigraphs by artist Erick Sahler (pictured here) to note cards and more by local photographers. Find them at Sunnyside Shop, 500 Poplar St. in downtown Cambridge. The lighthouse itself also sells some lighthouse items on the weekends; located at Long Wharf (High and Water streets).

• Crab and Cambridge gifts: Crabs are the theme of several items at Butterfly Boutique — salt-and-pepper shakers, cutting boards, platters, earrings, hair bands, and more. This new shop will also be offering bike-themed items, such as scarves and handbags. Butterfly Boutique is located at 510 Poplar St. You’ll find more crabby items at the Simmons Center Market at 600 Race St. — a family-owned business for more than 75 years. Their gift shop carries etched-glass crab wine glasses and crab cutting boards as well as Cambridge mugs and shot glasses.

• Local produce: Emily’s Produce is a farm family-run business with homegrown fruits and vegetables, local meats and cheeses, and homemade items (including Maryland Crab Pie), as well as non-perishable local items, such as jams and sauces. The market also offers a free children’s play area and a U-Pick pumpkin patch. Emily’s Produce is located at 2206 Church Creek Road (Route 16) in Cambridge, about five miles from the Hyatt Chesapeake on US Route 50.

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