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The concessionaire for Oriole Park at Camden Yards wants to hire more than 400 people to sell food and drinks at the new downtown ballpark and will start taking applications at Memorial Stadium from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. today.

ARA Leisure Services Inc. will also hold "open houses" at Memorial Stadium's Hit & Run Club from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow and Sunday.

"This is new for us. We don't know how many people to expect," said ARA personnel manager Debbie Wyda. "We'll be here until midnight if we need to to accommodate the people who come in."

"There are some good opportunities for people. And they'll make more than peanuts," said Joe Costa, ARA's regional general manager.

The positions are being created to supplement the jobs of about 300 people who worked for ARA at Memorial Stadium and are expected to work at Camden Yards. ARA's openings represent the largest single group of jobs created as a result of the completion of the $105.4 million ballpark, which opens April 6.

"ARA is delighted to be able to hire 57 percent more people for the 1992 Orioles season despite these challenging economic times," said ARA president Charles Gillespie. "We remain committed to the communities in which we operate and hope to have a positive impact on the local Baltimore economy."

The jobs include those of vendors, cooks, waiters and waitresses, bartenders, concession stand workers and numerous other food service personnel. Most are part-time, seasonal positions, although some restaurant jobs will be year-round. Certain jobs are paid on a commission basis; others pay from $5 to $8 an hour.

ARA officials are seeking "enthusiastic, motivated and professional" individuals with high school diplomas. Ms. Wyda said the company has promoted the open houses in local newspaper want ads and by meeting with representatives of colleges, universities, community groups near the ballpark and companies that have had recent layoffs.

She said successful applicants will be notified starting next week and that orientation for all ARA employees will be held in March.

Mr. Costa, the regional general manager, said the increased number of jobs is directly related to the expanded offerings ARA will have in the new ballpark. Besides the traditional concession stands serving hot dogs, pretzel, nachos, peanuts and beer, he said, ARA will operate four "deli-bars" with a wider range of food and drinks; "Grillworks" buffets; a large club-level lounge; restaurants called Bambino's Saloon, the Diamond Club and the Camden Club.

Under a license agreement, ballpark visitors will be able to buy mixed drinks and take them back to their seats along with beer and wine -- a practice that was not widespread at Memorial Stadium.

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