If you happen to be free next week and itching to ink a permanent ad for crab seasoning onto your precious epidermis, then here is the event for you: Between the hours of 11 AM and 8 PM on Tuesday, May 16, the Baltimore Tattoo Museum will offer free Old Bay tattoos. Human billboards may choose between three crabby designs, which will be unveiled on Old Bay’s social media channels on Monday.
In 2019, Old Bay hosted a similar event at the tattoo museum—and last year, for a story about the ludicrous power of the Old Bay brand, we asked about it. “I thought [the tattoo event] was going to be more of a gimmick,” said Jill Pratt, then the chief marketing officer at Old Bay’s parent company, McCormick Spices. “But we had people lined up around the block. People came in from as far as North Carolina, and they now have tattoos of Old Bay—funded by Old Bay—because that’s what they wanted forever.”
Apparently, fans frequently get Old Bay tattoos on their own dime, too, then sometimes send pictures to McCormick. “The number of images that we have in our repository of all the different Old Bay tattoos is shocking,” Pratt said. “I can’t think of any other brand where people would line up to put it permanently on their body.” (Asked for comment on the other Maryland crab seasoning, J.O., Pratt threw a little shade: “I mean, I don’t see a lot of J.O. tattoos out there.”)
While the 2019 Old Bay tattoo event was pegged to National Tattoo Day, this one is cross-promotional with Preakness, Maryland’s rowdiest horse race of the year. Folks who attend Tuesday’s tattooing will—in addition to spending the rest of their natural lives repping their favorite blend of 18 herbs and spices—have a chance to score Preakness tickets. There, the lucky winners will watch just under two minutes of breakneck horse sprinting, see a Bruno Mars show, and might also witness grown men scrambling across the tops of Porta-Potties while getting beer cans chucked at their heads.