After 30 years of performing, Vince Tabron still gets a rush when his singing puts a smile on the face of an audience member.
Part Harmony, Tabron's five-member a cappella group, will be among a slew of scheduled entertainment this weekend to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Harborplace, a group of shops and restaurants that have become the focal point of Baltimore's famed Inner Harbor. Part Harmony has been among the street performers performing at Harborplace since 1985.
"Everything has grown so vast," said Tabron, a 50-year-old Owings Mills resident who works in the parts department for a car dealership. "The crowds have gotten bigger throughout the years. That is impressive to us from a group standpoint."
Tabron's group will perform songs from the Platters, the Drifters, Four Tops, the Temptations and Sam Cooke from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
With events including concerts, a fashion show and a crab-cake competition, three-day celebration is bound to have something for each member of the family.
Donald Manning, corporate director of training for Phillips Seafood Restaurants, will be heading the Crabology presentation Friday starting at noon. The hour-long demonstration will serve as a way to explain how the company brings the crab from the water to the dinning room. In addition to teaching the anatomy of the food, Manning will explain the different types of crab meat and give a cooking demonstration. Manning has also promised a song and dance.
"We're going to make it fun," Manning said with a laugh. "It is always amazing to me how many facts about crabs that Marylanders don't know."
Manning actually began his career with the company in 1984 as a cook in the restaurant's Harborplace location.
"Everything had more of a homegrown feel," he recalled. "There were little shops. Then all these big players came in. Of all the restaurants that were originally there, they are all gone — except for Phillips. People still want regional food."
Phillips will also sponsor a crab-cake eating competition Saturday where 16 pre-registered participants will each attempt to consume 30 pounds worth of crab cakes in 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Contestants entered the competition through the company's Facebook page, and only non-professional eaters were allowed to apply. The winner of the competition, which begins at 1 p.m., will receive a crab feast for six at the Harbor Place location. The other participants will receive a $30 gift certificate.
"We are proud to be the anchor [of Harborplace]," said Michelle Torres, corporate director of marketing for Phillips Seafood Restaurants. "You don't come to Harborplace and not come to Phillips. We were one of six original tenants. Without us and Mayor Schaefer, Haborplace wouldn't be where it is today. We are proud to be responsible for putting Baltimore on the map."
In keeping with the celebration's 1980s theme, Friday night's concert will feature music by the Reagan Years, an '80s tribute band. The two-hour concert begins at 7 p.m. A costume contest will also be held.
Saturday morning, Martin Millspaugh, an urban planner and journalist, will lead a slide presentation and discussion showcasing the Inner Harbor's role in Baltimore's history. A walking tour will follow. The presentation, which begins at 10 a.m., will be held in the Watertable Ballroom in the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, a fashion show featuring apparel from retailers in Harborplace and The Gallery, will be held. Winners from the 80s costume contest held the night before will also participate. Almost all the events will be held at the Harborplace Amphitheater.
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