GREAT BAY RACE:On your mark. Get set!...



On your mark. Get set! Go! Schooners from up and down the East Coast will sail from Baltimore to Norfolk in the fourth annual "Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race" on Thursday.

Will the Norfolk Rebel edge out the Bonny Rover? Or will Maryland's own Herandis take first place? Arrive about 9:30 a.m. Thursday for a "Parade of Sail" and a close-up look at all 17 boats, which will sail from Fells Point to the Inner Harbor, and then on to the Bay Bridge for the race's official start at 2:30 p.m. The race, part of "Baltimore on the Bay," a three-week celebration of the Chesapeake, ends Saturday morning in Norfolk.

On Wednesday, preview the vessels, scheduled to dock throughout the day at Broadway Pier and Brown's Wharf in Fells Point. For 20th-century adventurers, here are two events to mark Columbus Day:

* Behold the pageantry as colorful military units, costumed dancers, marching bands, mummers, antique cars, bagpipes and decorated floats fill the streets for the city's 103rd annual Columbus Day Parade starting at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Joe De Francis, president of Pimlico and Laurel race courses, is the grand marshal. The Parkville High School band, the North County High Knights, the Loch Raven band and Kenwood High band are part of the procession, which steps off at Key Highway and Covington streets and circles the Inner Harbor to the Columbus Monument.

* Plan ahead for next week's yacht racing, when six Beneteau yachts compete in the fifth annual Columbus Cup. Team racing begins at 11 a.m. next Friday, Oct. 15, with finals scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 16. They'll also race off Annapolis Tuesday and Wednesday. More next week, including tips on where best to watch from.

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