TALL SHIPS AND TUG:
The Inner Harbor's host to ships from near and far in the next few days -- Portugal, Uruguay, and, yes, Baltimore. Here's the breakdown:
* The Capitan Miranda, a 205-foot tall ship from Uruguay, is open for free tours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. today, completing a week's visit. This attractive staysail schooner, one of the Uruguayan navy's oldest ships, sails tomorrow afternoon.
* The S.S. Baltimore, a 1906-vintage, coal-powered tugboat that has been restored, will be docked near the Maryland Science Center for free tours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. today and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. tomorrow. Chores in this Baltimore-built tug's history include being a VIP vessel for Baltimore's mayor, moving pile drivers and barges, breaking harbor ice, and as a private boat owned by a member of the du Pont family.
The Baltimore ignominiously stayed on the bottom of the Sassafras River after it sank, but was then towed for restoration by the Baltimore Museum of Industry. It's been steaming under its own power for two years. Information: 727-4808.
* The Portuguese Sagres II, one of the world's most elegant tall ships, will arrive at the Inner Harbor's West Wall about 10 a.m. Monday and stay through July 31.
This 298-foot barkentine, built in Hamburg, Germany, in 1937, was taken by the United States in 1946 as part of reparations for World War II. The ship was transferred to Brazil in 1948 and bought by Portugal 1961 to replace an earlier Sagres.
Courtesy of Baltimore Operation Sail, you can visit this stately ship from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. The Sagres will depart at 9 a.m. Friday. Whether it's traditional jazz or contemporary fusion, the La Provence Thursday Night Concert Series will tickle your fancy next week.
The Bruce Middle Group's jazz fusion is the main course Thursday, July 30, at Hopkins Plaza, between Baltimore Street, Charles Street and Hopkins Place.
The evening appetizer, beginning at 7 p.m., is Tom Teasley, playing traditional percussion jazz. Information: 837-4636.
Two big events -- and two parades -- dominate next weekend's agenda:
* Figure on thousands of people flocking to Festival Hall for the annual AFRAM Festival -- built this year around the theme, "The African-American Woman: An Emerging Force."
Preliminaries begin Thursday, but the most diverse part of this festival begins at 7 p.m. Friday, July 31, on the outdoor stage and continues until 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is only $3 per person ($6 for families). Information: 732-7588. Saturday's free AFRAM parade begins at noon at Dolphin and Eutaw streets.
* And . . . one of the city's most colorful conventions is in town next weekend, too, complete with a Sunday morning parade every firetruck-loving kid will want to see. Watch next Saturday's column for details about the public events of the Great American Firehouse Exposition and Muster next weekend at the Baltimore Convention Center.