Parading around the harbor

Families celebrate Easter tradition with visit to promenade

April 05, 1999|By Laura Sullivan | Laura Sullivan,SUN STAFF

In front of the amphitheater at the Inner Harbor yesterday, Chloe Tsiames, 5, tried hard not to scuff her new patent-leather shoes as she spun her sister, Carley, 3, in circles fast enough to make passers-by dizzy.

The two danced and spun as more little girls in frilly dresses and little boys in suits joined them.

The rain had stopped long enough yesterday so Baltimoreans and others had a perfect spring afternoon to enjoy the annual tradition of going to the Inner Harbor to listen to music, mill about and scrutinize other people's Easter outfits.

"I love seeing all the women in hats," said Sue Tugya, in town from New Jersey for the weekend to visit her son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law. "You never see that anymore."

"It's a beautiful day with everybody all dressed up," added Jackie Abernathy, also from New Jersey and mother of the future daughter-in-law. She and Tugya were taking a break with dozens of other people-watchers, sitting along a cement wall.

Mothers in high heels and fathers in ties waited in line to take their children on paddle boat rides. Grandparents and grandchildren strolled the Inner Harbor promenade.

Six-year-old Lakell Rooks of Baltimore walked hand-in-hand with her father as she does every Easter, happily skipping in her new blue and white sailor outfit. Her father, Willie Rooks, said he made it a tradition when she was born so the two could spend time with each other.

"We have such a nice time walking around," he said, adding that he needed to keep walking so he could burn off his portion of a large Easter brunch.

Not everyone was dressed up. Pedestrians in shorts and T-shirts, eating ice cream cones, mingled with joggers in sports gear and a man dressed as the Easter Bunny, handing out candy.

Several dozen Orthodox Jews in yarmulkes and traditional dress also were enjoying the Inner Harbor as they observed the fourth day of Passover.

"It's nice to see everybody together peacefully celebrating and blending different religions," said Dov Goldberg, 18, of Baltimore, who attends college in Florida.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke made the Easter concerts and celebration an annual affair after a group of teens reportedly were rowdy in 1993 and forced several businesses to close early. Some people said reports of the disturbance were exaggerated. Police made no arrests and said no crimes were reported.

Either way, many said they were happy the outcome was the creation of the annual event.

Yesterday, a police presence could be felt as officers patrolled on bikes or walked in pairs, but it was overshadowed by the Latin American music of Alborada and jazzman Tim Eyermann, drawing crowds to the amphitheater.

Catonsville residents Natasha Raman, 7, and her sister, Sarina, 5, hid behind their mother, Ana, as she urged them to join the other kids who were dancing. They wouldn't budge, though.

Well, said their mother with a smile, maybe next year.

Pub Date: 4/05/99

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