A plethora of Preakness festivities

This week in business

Frog Hop, Crab Derby among highlights ahead of race

Youthworks Career Fair Wednesday

This week in business

May 10, 2004|By Jacqueline Seaberg | Jacqueline Seaberg,Baltimoresun.com Staff

Baltimore continues its march to the 129th running of the Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course with celebrations throughout the city this week.

"It's going to be an exciting time in Baltimore," said Terry Romanoli, executive director of the nonprofit Preakness Celebration Inc., which organizes local events surrounding the second jewel of horseracing's Triple Crown.

Last year's Preakness race alone generated $40.6 million, said Mike Gathagan, a spokesman for the Maryland Jockey Club, which manages Pimlico. The entire 13-race program at Pimlico generated $62.5 million, he said. The figures marked the third straight year of record-setting figures, he said.

The event also generated $28 million in other spending, according to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. That spending included parking fees, souvenir sales, travel costs and hotel revenues.

On Preakness Day 2003, 100,268 people watched Funny Cide win at Pimlico -- the fourth-biggest crowd on record, Gathagan said. He predicted that this year's turnout could top the 2001 record of 104,454.

"We're going to shatter all the records this year," Gathagan said. "You have a horse [Kentucky Derby winner Smarty Jones] from Philly; Philadelphia is one of the greatest sports towns in the nation. We're selling tickets at a record pace."

A profitable event, of course, depends on the weather, both Gathagan and Romanoli acknowledged. Last year's Preakness was run on a rain-soaked track, under cloudy skies -- and with a temperature of 59 degrees.

"It was cold and wet," Romanoli said. "It was the coldest Preakness on record."

Both are hoping for sunny skies and warm temperatures. "We can't be mistaken that some of the revenues are going to be affected by the weather," Romanoli said.

Following last week's events that included the Preakness Parade and the 5-K Run, celebrants can look forward to the Pee Wee Preakness for children on Tuesday in Federal Hill Park, the Frog Hop on Wednesday in Patterson Park and the Crab Derby on Thursday at Lexington Market.

Another highlight of the week is Black-Eyed Susan Day on Friday at Pimlico. The day is named after the official drink of the Preakness. Older horses will run that day in the Pimlico Special.

"The serious horse enthusiasts like to go to the track on Friday," Romanoli said. "It's a day of incredible racing and there's really big purses. The Preakness excitement is in the air, and it's just a great day of action."

For more information on Preakness Celebration events, call 410-837-3030 or click here.

Other events this week include:

Monday: The Society for Technical Communication will hold its 51st annual meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center through Wednesday. For more information, call 703-522-4114 or click here.

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is offering a five-day course for those interested in the marine survey industry. For more information, call 207-359-4651 or click here.

Tuesday: Mayor Martin O'Malley will announce details of this year's Baltimore Marathon at 11 a.m. at City Hall. This year's running, the fourth annual, is set for Oct. 16. More than 3,000 runners participated last year, representing 46 states and eight foreign countries. The event generated $29 million in local economic spending last year.

The Community College of Baltimore County is holding a Justice Job Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at its Dundalk campus, 7200 Sollers Point Road. For more information on opportunities ranging from paralegal work to homeland security, call 410-285-9990 or click here.

The Howard County Economic Development Authority is sponsoring a workshop on developing business proposals from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in Columbia. For more information, call 410-313-6500 or click here.

The MIT Enterprise Forum of Washington-Baltimore is holding a seminar on technology and business at 6:30 p.m. at Loyola College in Timonium. For more information, e-mail exec@mitef.org or click here.

Sharon R. Pinder, special secretary to the state Office of Minority Affairs, will be featured at a presentation on the "State of Women's Business Enterprises" at a meeting of the Harambee Dinner Club. The session will be held at 7 p.m. at Club A-List, 5302 Reisterstown Road. For more information, call 410-976-9919 or click here.

In Washington, the Washington District Office of the U.S. Small Business Association and the National Business League will sponsor a procurement and contracting opportunity conference at 9 a.m. at the New Washington Convention Center. For more information, call 202-722-2465 or click here.

In addition, the National Women's Business Center will honor U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine Cho at its 2004 Awards Gala at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill. Others to be recognized include Lurita Doan, founder and president of New Technology Management Inc., and Paula Jagemann, founder of eCommerce Industries. For more information, call 202-785-4922 or click here.

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