Infield revelers into music more than getting drunk

May 21, 2011|By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

 Baltimore Police Lt. Sam Hood, who was observing the concert crowd from his post in front of the Jack Daniel’s trailer, said people were "well-behaved."

“You don't see the drunken stupor that you used to see," he said.

 Hood said infield-goers seemed to be more interested in the music this year -- with such contemporary acts as Bruno Mars, Train and Mr. Greengenes on stage. "They're engaged with the events. You don't have them doing their own events," he said.

 Mandy Heagy of Baltimore, who came to the Preakness with five women friends wearing coordinated outfits, said she joined the infield action at 18 but was put off by the behavior.  She said she stayed away for a decade before returning last year and observing an improved atmosphere.

  So this year she invited her friends to come up from Florida for what she says is now a  last year, she said it's now a "classy" event.

 "This year, it's just like perfect," Heagy said.

For some denizens of the infield, their enjoyment of the day was tempered by a little nostalgia for the days of debauchery.

Stephanie O'Connell of Norwalk, Conn., who will graduate from the Johns Hopkins University Thursday, said he spent her Preakness Day in the infield  three years ago when racegoers could still carry in their own beer.

"It's a little tamer this year," she said. "Things change."

For one thing, she wasn't seeing any flying beer cans. Though she thought this year's environment was safer, there were still regrets.

"I kind of liked to throw them every once in a while," she said.


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