Free Old Bay Tattoos at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum: A Unique and Spicy Experience

The Baltimore Tattoo Museum opened its doors at 11:00 am, but the first person to arrive was seeking an Old Bay Tattoo. They arrived at the Baltimore Tattoo Museum around 4:45 am on Tuesday.

The early bird swung those who came after her anticlockwise around to ensure they did not block the entrance of the weed store next to the museum. She was the first one in and the first out of the Baltimore Tattoo Museum with her free Old Bay tattoo — a collaboration of the beloved Maryland spice brand and the tattoo museum in celebration of Preakness Week.

The museum and McCormick and Company, Inc., Inc., Old Bay spice brand partnered up for the second time in 2019. “Make their love permanently with a uniquely Old Bay tattoo.”

Well, over 200 hopefuls showed up eager for a free tattoo, some in the iconic old Bay colors, according to Cierra Colón, public relations manager for McCormick and Co., Inc. At one time, the line stretched around the block to Bank Street.

Only 45 people received tattoos. Many remained outside the museum until 7:45 pm, hoping there would be a cancellation or an opening.

Outside of the Baltimore Tattoo Museum on Tuesday, crowds line up for the chance to get a free Old Bay tattoo. Photo by Aliza Worthington.
The Baltimore Tattoo Museum was packed with people on Tuesday as they waited in line to get an Old Bay tattoo for free—photo by Aliza Winning.

Colón said the clear front-runners for the day were the crab tattoo and the Black-eyed Susan tattoo, though a few people got the crab mallets design.

The design options for the new iPhone were revealed on Monday—on Old Bay’s social media channels.

The three options for Old Bay tattoo designs: crab mallets, a Black-eyed Susan flower, and a crab. Image courtesy of Baltimore Tattoo Museum.
Three options for Old Bay Tattoo Designs: a Black-eyed Susan Flower, a Crab, or a Crab. Image courtesy Baltimore Tattoo Museum.

One group of 6 had been waiting from 8:30 am, which was now ten hours. Baltimore Fishbowl They were caught up. Some had brought snacks with them, but others didn’t. The group could take breaks on short walks while giving the museum information. However, they did not wander too far. Three of the members were aiming to get a crab tattoo. Two wanted the Black-Eyed Susan, and one got the mallets.

They heard of the event via different means: Facebook, Instagram, and text messages from friends.

Again, the answers varied when asked if the Old Bay tattoo or socks were the main reason for their visit. Amy from Pasadena came for the Old Bay. She was decked out in Old Bay socks. Shirt and purse. James, an Annapolis resident, said, “I’m there because it goes along with my other Maryland Tattoos.”

James lives in Washington, D.C., but all except one of the group were born and raised there. He only traveled there for the tattoo and woke up at dawn to catch the MARC train (the metro) and the City Link (the subway) to get to the museum.

The Old Bay mascot stands outside of the Baltimore Tattoo Museum. Screenshot via Old Bay's Instagram page.
The Old Bay mascot outside the Baltimore Tattoo Museum. Old Bay Instagram screenshot.

Kit and Noah, who had previously attended Preakness, were the only two group members to enter for tickets. The group’s main attraction was the free Maryland-themed tattoo.

Dave had his first tattoo done in color. It was more painful, but he loved the outcome.

Colón was unsure whether the event would become an annual tradition but wouldn’t rule it out. They were thrilled with the enthusiasm and turnout for this event.

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