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:

* Military units, costumed dancers, marching bands, mummers, antique cars, bagpipes and decorated floats will 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. Visitors to Canton Waterfront Park or Harris Creek Park between 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, be forewarned. You're apt to run into a contingent of 35 to 50 people armed with rakes, brooms and shovels. The enemy? Trash and debris that litter the pedestrian walkway, a portion of the larger Waterfront Promenade that stretches from Canton through Fells Point and the Inner Harbor to Key Highway. Lugging trash bags in an effort to beautify the neighborhood will be senior citizens from the Hatton Center, Boy Scout Troop No. 131, members of Towson State University's Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, and representatives from the Baltimore Harbor Maritime Association and the Maryland Yacht Center. "Hands on the Harbor" is organized by the Baltimore Harbor Endowment. From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., another contingent, under the auspices of Save Our Streams with several state and city agencies, the Abell Foundation, Forms Inc., the BRESCO incinerator and the One Million Marylanders Campaign, will be cleaning up several hundred tires and other debris from the Patapsco's Middle Branch. Volunteers are needed.

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