Week of festivities set for Baltimore exhibition Events to showcase drive for NFL team


Are you ready for some football? Hype, that is.

A weeklong series of events -- from a pep rally to a giant sand castle building contest -- is planned to promote the Miami Dolphins-New Orleans Saints exhibition at Memorial Stadium on Aug. 27 at 8 p.m.

The preseason matchup is being played in Baltimore as part of the city's effort to land an NFL expansion team. It will be the first NFL game in Baltimore since the Colts moved to Indianapolis in 1984.

A 35-foot football was scheduled to be inflated today on top of the Maryland Science Center at the Inner Harbor. The ball will remain in place until the game is played.

The week of events, which were scheduled to be announced today at a news conference, include:

* A two-day sand castle building contest at the Inner Harbor on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 22 and 23.

* A Legendary Colts Golf Scrimmage on Tuesday, Aug. 25, at Turf Valley Country Club. Former Colts will play with proceeds going to the National Drive to Cure Paralysis. That night, former Colts superstar Johnny Unitas will throw out the first ball at "NFL Night" at Camden Yards.

* A pep rally at noon Wednesday, Aug. 26, at the Inner Harbor will feature athletes from various current and former professional Baltimore sports teams. Chuck Thompson, the former "Voice of the Colts" and current Orioles radio announcer, will be master of ceremonies. A hundred foam footballs and 4,000 pennants will be distributed.

* About 60 former Colts will attend a charity crab feast at 6 p.m. that night at Martin's West. Proceeds will benefit The Door, a program to assist disadvantaged youth.

Game organizers say the events are designed to ensure a full turnout at the game, which was sold out within hours of the tickets going on sale. For more information, call (410) 333-1560 and ask for Carol Salmon or Walt Gutowski.

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