Good times abound during Maryland's 10-day Preakness festival. On land, sea and air, events will spring up across the state, including a rodeo, an antique aircraft fly-in, Olympic canoeing and kayaking and, by gosh, even some horse racing. Many of the events will be free and custom made for the hobbyhorse set and their parents. For footloose revelers, there will be good times rolling at area nightspots. And if you aren't exactly experiencing life in the fast lane, there will be leisurely moments with crafts, fishing, historical re-enactments and events that will require little more than filling your face with good eats.
FRIDAY, MAY 8
Media Balloon Flight. Oregon Ridge Park, Cockeysville. 6:30 a.m. This year's three-day, four-event balloon festival features more than 30 hot-air balloons. (410) 837-3030. Free.
Bud Light Nights. Water Street's block parties run nightly through May 15 (except Sunday, May 10). 5:30 p.m.-midnight. Refreshments, dancing, live entertainment. (410) 837-3030. Free with your Preakness pin.
Pear Tree Festival. Mini Park, Downtown Pocomoke. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Crafts, food, children's entertainment, music. Also, May 9. (410) 957-0972. Free.
29th Annual YWCA Circle Promenade. Lawyers Mall, Annapolis. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Street festival with arts, crafts, food, entertainment. Also, May 9. (410) 268-5093. Free.
Hunt Valley Mall Preakness Fashion Show. Hunt Valley Mall. Noon-2 p.m. informal fashion show for the "equestrian look" featuring Miss Preakness, her court. (410) 785-3770. Free.
Lunchtime With the Orioles. Harborplace Amphitheatre. Noon. Baltimore Orioles players sign autographs, meet fans with WBAL's Joe Angel. (410) 332-4191. Free.
Baltimore African Violet Club Plant Show, Sale. Towson Market Place. 1:30 p.m.-9 p.m. Largest African violet show in the region. Also, May 8. (410) 682-5473. Free.
SATURDAY, MAY 9
First National Bank Hot Air Balloon Competition and Children's Festival. Druid Hill Park liftoff between 6:30 a.m.-7 a.m. Festival complete with rides, clowns, music by the Bayside Big Band, miniature horses from Valhalla Farm, Spectrum Puppets Productions, refreshments. The zoo opens at 9 a.m., admission is $1 off with Preakness pin. (410) 837-3030. Festivities are free with Preakness pin.
$700,000 Pimlico Special. Rich stakes races featuring former Triple Crown competitors at Pimlico Race Course. Post time 12:30 p.m. (410) 542-9400. Admission.
Crown Petroleum Balloonglow and Concert. Brightly lit hot-air balloons amid vendors, rides, arts, crafts from 4 p.m.-10 p.m. in Oregon Ridge Park, Cockeysville. WPOC-FM (93.1) presents performers Joe Diffie, Collin Ray, Marge Calhoun 4:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Kennedy Krieger Institute, United Cerebral Palsy. (410) 837-3030. Admission $10, kids under 8 free; $4 off admission with Preakness pin.
Shock Trauma Gala: "Festival Internationale." Towson Center, Towson. 7 p.m.-midnight. Black-tie event features dinner, dancing to live entertainment. Proceeds to benefit the Trauma ,, Nursing Center, the EMS Field Program, the Charles McC. Mathias National Study Center. (410) 328-8778. Ticket required.
Laurel Main Street Festival. Main Street, Laurel. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. More than 400 exhibits, arts, crafts, food, music, a parade. (301) 317-4904. Free.
Market Day at the Cylburn Arboretum. 4915 Greenspring Ave. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Fair features plants, native wildflowers, rum buns, more. (410) 367-2217. Free.
15th Annual Rites of Spring Rugby Tournament. Lake Clifton-Eastern High School. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fifty rugby teams from around the East Coast participate, hosted by the Baltimore Boars Rugby Club. Also, May 10. (410) 252-7950. Free.
Westminster Flower and Craft Show. Main Street, downtown Westminster. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thousands of plants, flowers for sale, entertainment all day. (410) 848-6962. Free.
Marlborough Day. Main Street, Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Four stages with family entertainment, a parade, children's activities, crafts, food. (301) 292-9006. Free.
May Day. Chesapeake City. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tours of horse farms, boat tours, antique show. (301) 885-2797. Free.
Scout Expo '92. Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Exhibition of scouting skills, demonstrations, stage show, with food, souvenirs available. (410) 338-1700. Admission.
Ellicott City May Arts Festival. Ellicott City. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. 11th annual event features more than 100 artisans, craftspeople, entertainment, food. (410) 313-2762. Admission.
International Festival . . . A Circle of Friends. New Windsor Service Center Campus. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. International entertainment, foods, crafts, children's activities. (410) 635-8715. Free.
Mayfest. Christmas Country Store, Bohemia. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Hands-on crafts for children, refreshments, local arts, crafts. (301) 994-1770. Free.
Mayfest. Everedy Square, Shab Row, Frederick. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Performing arts, sculpting, musical performances, children's events. (301) 662-4140. Free.