In yesterday's Maryland Live, admission to the Coca-Cola Preakness Fun Festival in Patterson Park today through tomorrow was incorrectly listed. Admission is free.
+ The Sun regrets the errors.
And the race is on!
No, no, not the Preakness Stakes. That's not until May 15. We mean the race to include as many events as ,x possible in the 1993 Maryland Preakness Celebration.
FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION
Beginning today, a familiar schedule of community festivals, balloon races, rock concerts, fireworks displays and the Triple Crown Ball builds toward next weekend's 118th running of the second jewel in thoroughbred racing's Triple Crown at Pimlico Race Course.
The first official Preakness affair? A media balloon flight and news conference at 6 a.m. today at Oregon Ridge Park, scheduled to give a bird's-eye preview of tomorrow's 21st annual Preakness balloon race, which lifts off from Druid Hill Park at 6:30 a.m. Air bag buffs should note another balloon competition is scheduled Sunday morning at Oregon Ridge Park.
The Preakness Fun Festival, a three-day event expanding by one day the previous annual Highlandtown Festival, also opens today, at 5 p.m. at Patterson Park.
And the seven-day Bud Light Nights celebration, featuring outdoor block parties and concerts along Water Street downtown, gets under way at 5:30 p.m.
However, gone this year for financial reasons is the Preakness Week parade, traditionally held the Friday evening before race day. In its place on the schedule comes the first Preakness Talent Showcase at the Harborplace Amphitheatre, featuring local musical talent, with preliminary auditions tomorrow and final performances next Friday.
"We canceled the parade because we couldn't find sponsorship dollars," said Sandra Cuneo, the former executive director of Maryland Preakness Celebration, the nonprofit corporation that organizes and arranges sponsorship for the 10-day Preakness party. (She has taken a job in Washington lobbying for New York state but is following through with this year's Preakness events as a volunteer.)
"We loved the parade, but it was just so expensive," Ms. Cuneo said, estimating the cost of a single parade float at $15,000 and the total cost at more than $100,000.
"We've tried to expand out into the community instead," she said, citing the Talent Showcase and the expanded Highlandtown Festival under a Preakness banner as examples.
Preakness packaging extends well beyond Baltimore, too. Around the state, more than 100 events have taken on the black-eyed Susan symbol to identify with the equine event.
"We tried to find grass-roots events that were already occurring, or in some cases events moved their schedules around to be part of the week," said Ms. Cuneo. Participation includes sponsorship assistance, Preakness publicity on display at the various functions and wider publicity for the local events, she said.
Here is a day-by-day guide to the celebration's events. Many are free or require the one-time purchase of a Preakness Pin for $2, which is transferable to other events. (Children under 10 are free.) For further information, including requests for a brochure listing Preakness-connected events elsewhere in the state, call the Preakness Celebration office at (410) 837-3030.
* The Coca-Cola Preakness Fun Festival, through Sunday in Patterson Park: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. today, noon to 10 p.m. tomorrow, noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Today's events include a 5 p.m. welcoming ceremony with Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, followed by "Good Time Oldies" performers Joey & the Jammers at 5:15 p.m., the Admirals at 6:30 p.m. and Bobby and the Believers at 8:30 p.m. A balloon glow, in which some of the hot-air ascenders taking part in tomorrow's race fire up their burners, is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.
Featured groups on the oldies rock bill include Danny & the Juniors at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow and the Coasters at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Also performing Saturday: the Chill, Big Cam & the Lifters, Joey & the Jammers, Elvis impersonator Michael Hoover and Ronnie Dove; on Sunday: the Orioles, Stevie & the Satellites, Joey Dee & the Starlighters.
Admission to the festival requires a Preakness Pin. For more information call (410) 563-2768.
* Bud Light Nights, outdoor block parties held daily (except Sunday) at 5:30 p.m. in the Water Street club district (off Light and Lombard streets). Admission is free with Preakness Pin. The band schedule includes Rattle Cats (tonight), Rex Hunter (tomorrow), Never, Never (Monday), Mama Jama (Tuesday), the Klassixs (Wednesday), Great Train Robbery (Thursday) and Tony Berry and New Money (Friday).
* Baltimore African Violet Club Plant Show and Sale, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, Towson Market Place. Call (410) 686-4667.
* Baltimore Museum Antiques Show, today, tomorrow and Sunday, Baltimore Museum of Art, times vary. Admission. Call (410) 396-6310.