Baltimore celebrates its maritime heritage, seafood tradition and waterfront area with the 17-day Baltimore on the Bay festival beginning tomorrow.
The event, which runs through Oct. 20, features events such as the Cadillac Columbus Cup yacht race, the Christopher Columbus Parade, the B-104 Crab Fest and the educational Kids on the Bay program. The festival begins with a kickoff ceremony and oyster shuck-off Thursday at noon at the Harborplace Amphitheatre, and continues with the annual Harborplace Blessing of Baltimore's Work Boats on Friday at 5:30 p.m. This Inner Harbor ceremony honors all of the vessels that keep the harbor running smoothly.
Events continue with the Fells Point Fun Festival on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at Broadway Market Square.
The Cadillac Columbus Cup, featuring eight teams from five countries, kicks off Tuesday at 1 p.m. and continues each day thereafter at 11 a.m. The course runs between Fort McHenry and the Key Bridge. The public is invited to daily recap seminars held at 5:30 p.m. at HarborView Marina and Yacht Club. The Cup will also host a Crab Feast to benefit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation on Monday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at HarborView.
The harbor waters will be the site of another competition, the Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. The boats arrive in Fells Point Oct. 10 for the Oct. 11-13 race to Norfolk, Va. The boats leave Fells Point at 9:30 Oct. 11; the race begins at 2 p.m. at the Bay Bridge.
Other activities are scheduled during the festival, including Harborplace's Old Crab Soup Stakes at noon Oct. 9 at the Inner Harbor Amphitheatre, and the Greater Baltimore Christopher Columbus Briefcase Relay at 6 p.m. on Oct. 10.
The 101st annual Mayor's Christopher Columbus Parade begins at 2 p.m. Oct. 13, proceeding around the Inner Harbor from Key Highway and Covington Street to Light Street, Pratt Street and then President Street and Central Avenue. Preceding the parade, a wreath-laying ceremony takes place at the Christopher Columbus statue on President Street.
Another special feature of the festival is Kids on the Bay, which offers music, magic, educational activities and hands-on learning projects from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Inner Harbor's Rash Field.
From noon to 7 p.m. on the 19th, the B-104 Crab Fest will feature crab dishes, a crab cook-off and singer Smokey Robinson in Fells Point's Broadway Market Square.
Also on Oct. 19, Harrison's Pier 5 Cup Yacht Race gets under way as sailboats race from Annapolis to the Inner Harbor. After the competition, an outdoor seafood festival takes place at Harrison's Pier 5 at 1 p.m.
The Baltimore Farmers' Market gets into the festival spirit with costumed characters, strolling street performers and more on Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon. The market is located at Holliday and Saratoga streets under the Jones Falls Expressway.
For information and a calendar of events on Baltimore on the Bay, call (301) 837-4636 or 1 (800) 282-6632.