Preakness parade to feature west side

April 28, 2004|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

This year's annual Preakness Celebration will include the usual array of pre-race activities, including concerts, footraces and family events.

But the 2004 schedule, announced yesterday, includes one major change: After 30 years on Pratt Street, the parade that traditionally kicks off the weeklong festival will follow a new route - through Baltimore's revamped west side.

Preakness Celebration Executive Director Terry Romanoli said the planning organization changed the event's route because it wanted the yearly spectacle to showcase this newly revitalized section of the city.

"It will be a great day to check out the west side," Romanoli said in a news conference yesterday.

Capitalizing on the fact that the recently renovated Hippodrome Theatre is in the parade's "back yard," she added, the theme of the event will be "A Tribute to Broadway."

The parade, which will begin at 10:30 a.m. on May 8, is scheduled to step off at Eutaw Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. It will be led by a grand marshal who is new to Baltimore: Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli.

Mazzilli has a little off-Broadway experience on his resume: He once played the character of Tony in a production of Tony & Tina's Wedding. He said yesterday he and his entire family feel excited, proud and honored to be included in the parade.

"But if [the Orioles] happen to lose the night before, I prefer not to be in a convertible," he said, jokingly. Other highlights of the annual celebration:

May 7-8: Harbor Balloon Festival and Inflatable Theme Park at Rash Field

May 8: Preakness 5K Run through South Baltimore

May 12-14: Miller Lite Nites Concert Series at the Power Plant Live! Complex

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