Pre-Preakness party time


THE SMELL OF PREAKNESS is in the air, and if you checked out this month's posher than posh Town and Country magazine, you'd have noticed a big spread on last year's Triple Crown Ball.

This year's pre-Preakness gala -- with entertainment by comedian Tim Conway et al -- takes place May 16 at the Hyatt Regency to benefit cystic fibrosis. A few tickets are still available for this year's -- not to be missed -- glitzy soiree by calling 771-9000.

WE ARE SOOOO excited. Imagine getting to meet one of our very own idols. Davy Crockett is coming to town and get this, so is Daniel Boone -- since both are in fact actor Fess Parker, who brought these heroes to TV in the '50s and '60s.

Seems Fess has traded in his coonskin cap to become a vintner -- from bear 'rassling to Reisling -- in Santa Barbara with son Eli.

Tonight, he's in Baltimore and is the guest of honor at a bash hosted by the Frederick P. Winner Distributing Co. to introduce his Parker Winery's first wines, which he'll take on a tour of the East Coast. Talk about king of the wild frontier.

SUSAN WHITE BOWDEN will be the keynote speaker at today's lecture/demonstration by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre for the Teen Outreach Program at the Charles Carroll Barrister School. The program aims to raise the self-esteem of middle-school students.

AROUND TOWN: Tickets are still available for the Silks and Saddles Ball at the Baltimore Museum of Art Saturday night. Call 396-6363. . . . Meanwhile, Tom Clancy, author of "Patriot Games," which mentions the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, will be the emcee at the Shock Trauma Gala the same night. For info, call 328-8778.

FINALLY, in a Mother's Day tribute to Maryland troops, Mike Whipple, general manager of the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel, and WNUV-TV (Channel 54) will honor moms and wives whose loved ones served in the gulf with a free brunch Sunday at the hotel's McHenry's Restaurant. For reservations, call 347-1818.

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