Devon Ford, 13, counts on the Preakness every year to earn a little extra cash toting people's coolers in a shopping cart from their cars to the gates of Pimlico Race Course.
But this year business wasn't so good.
He and three friends were barely making any money. Since Pimlico banned people from bringing their own beer and liquor, very few people used coolers. Those who did brought smaller, lighter coolers filled with food instead of heavy bottles and cans.
"It used to be packed with people, but there aren't that many people this year," said Carter, who lives a few blocks from Pimlico. "They told people to stop bringing beer and now they won't come. It's all old people, no young people."
Neighborhood entrepreneurs outside the gates of Pimlico have become as much a piece of the Preakness as the horse races and fancy hats. Kids and adults try to capitalize off the crowds by selling parking spaces in front of their houses, peddling bottled water and soda and carrying people's coolers and bags for a small fee.
But in a true form of trickle-down economics, the neighborhood entrepreneurs were feeling the pains of a bad economy and new rules on alcohol created by Preakness officials that resulted in thin crowds Saturday.
The kids come from several blocks away, waking up early to make the walk from their houses.
Carter, who learned the business from his cousin several years ago, can sometimes bring in a couple of hundred dollars but didn't expect to make much this year. He had hoped to earn money to buy his mom a birthday gift.
He sat on a bike while his three friends sat on a curb looking defeated Saturday as no one seemed to need their services.
Randolph Taylor, 15, stood at the corner of Bland Avenue and Northern Parkway trying to get people to pay to park in spaces around his house. He said he could fit 13 cars but was having a hard time getting people in. He started with a sign charging $25 and changed it to $7 a short time later.
"The people aren't here," said Carter, dressed in jeans and a polo shirt, as he held a sign over his head.
Up and down Northern Parkway, kids and teenagers with signs were hustling into the street trying to be the first to get a driver's attention as the competition to get business seemed more intense than ever before.
Others were selling snow cones, giant pretzels and hot dogs. At least one girl was selling goods to raise money for her church. "Jamaican food over here," one man yelled out. "Jerk chicken, curry chicken, just like you get in Jamaica."
Kwame Harris, 14, has been selling chips, sodas and hot dogs outside of Pimlico for the past five years. Saturday he sat in a lawn chair at the corner of Merville Avenue and Northern Parkway waiting for hungry customers. He made $250 one year but didn't think he would earn so much this year.
A little farther down the street Devin Tisdale, 20, stood in the median of Northern Parkway trying to sell bottled water and soda. He and a friend had been there since 5 a.m. and by 11 a.m. still had much of their water left even though they planned to leave in an hour. They would have been close to sold out any other year, he said.
"This year it is really slow," Tisdale said. "It is really, really slow. The beer thing is really bad. Nobody is coming."
But the kids with the shopping carts seemed to be the hardest hit by the economy as the crowds walked in mostly empty-handed. Most wandered around with empty carts, eagerly approaching the few people that seemed to have coolers.
"Ya'll need some help?" Darien Kee, 14, asked a group of people unloading an SUV.
"Nope, we're all right," one of the men answered, to Kee's disappointment.
The kids tried to be creative and look for other ways to make money, such as charging people to take pictures with the shopping carts. Some people even paid to get a ride in the carts. But mostly it was slow.
Kanisha Harcum, 16, had one customer by 11 a.m. She charged him $4. He gave her $10 and told her to keep the change. She had promised to share her earnings with a friend. Harcum said she had expected to have many more customers by that time.
Kee, 14, made $200 last year but hadn't made any money by 11 a.m. He had a pocketful of cash by that time last year.
All the kids were hoping that by the end of the race people would have had a little to drink and would be a little more generous.
"When they're tipsy, they spend more," Ford said.