Preakness Celebration hits `Jackpot!'

Buckwheat Zydeco will headline concert May 18

May 03, 2007|By Sam Sessa | Sam Sessa,Sun Reporter

Baltimore will get a double dose of zydeco this month with the 20th annual Preakness Celebration.

The Southern party act Buckwheat Zydeco will headline this year's Preakness eve concert, and local zydeco/funk outfit the Crawdaddies will open the show, officials announced yesterday.

Accordionist Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural and his band will play a free outdoor show at 6 p.m. May 18 in Harbor East. The Crawdaddies will perform there and also at Belvedere Square at 6 p.m. May 11.

Both concerts are part of a week of Preakness Celebration events that starts May 11 and ends with the running of the 132nd Preakness Stakes on May 19. Other Preakness Celebration events include the parade, frog hop, crab derby and balloon festival.

"The Preakness is much more than just a horse race," said Louis J. Raffetto Jr., president and chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club. "To all of us and people around the country, the Preakness is Baltimore, and Baltimore is the Preakness."

Buckwheat Zydeco, which played Rams Head Tavern in January, recently released Jackpot!, its first new studio album in more than five years.

Preakness Celebration organizers will shut down the intersection of Lancaster Street and South Central Avenue in Harbor East to host the show. It will have a mini-street festival atmosphere, with vendors from local merchants and restaurants, organizers said. The concert will include fireworks over the Inner Harbor.

"We've been told they're the world's greatest party band, and I definitely agree," retail marketer Mikey Monaghan said of Buckwheat Zydeco. "We're looking forward to having them out here to showcase Harbor East and have people jumping and grooving."

Rock groups Papa Roach and Mr. Greengenes will put on free shows at Power Plant Live at 8 p.m. May 17 and 18, respectively. Admission to the concerts is for the 21-and-older crowd.

On May 18, about 25 hot-air balloon operators will stay grounded but will light their burners to illuminate the city waterfront. They'll lift off from Oregon Ridge Park the next day, weather permitting.

This year's Preakness Stakes will be a milestone for Mayor Sheila Dixon. It's the first time her 18-year-old daughter, Jasmine, will be able to bet on the races, she said. "She's already bought her dress, and she's looking for a hat," Dixon said. "What can I say?"

sam.sessa@baltsun.com

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