Portfest organizers promise an encore Success prompts plans for next year


Organizers of Portfest '93, a celebration of Baltimore's maritime history, said yesterday that the event was so successful it will be staged again next year.

"It has exceeded our expectations for a first-year event," said Mary Sue McCarthy, executive director of Baltimore Operation Sail, which conceived the idea of Portfest '93.

"We think it has tremendous potential for '94 to become a bigger event that pulls in other parts of the downtown area."

Nearly 20,000 people toured shipping and industrial operations at the Port of Baltimore Saturday and yesterday, according to organizers.

Many of the visitors -- mostly young families with children and the families of port workers, both current and retired -- got their first look at port operations.

"It's been really busy the entire weekend," said Sara Moriarty, spokeswoman for the Maryland Port Administration, which helped sponsor the festival. "It's just kind of a family, maritime event."

Visitors got free narrated tours of the Domino Sugar Refinery, Consolidation Coal Terminals, the Dundalk and Seagirt marine terminals, historic South Locust Point, the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the Inner Harbor. They were shuttled by tour boats and Mass Transit Administration buses.

Included on the tour that took about 80 minutes was a look at Baltimore's shipbuilding past near the foot of Caroline Street, where the Living Classrooms Maritime Institute teaches carpentry, maritime trades and entrepreneurial skills to youths. Visitors also saw the city's marine biotechnology future, at the Pratt Street site of the Christopher Columbus Center planned to open in 1995.

The tour of the Dundalk Marine Terminal was the first public look at the facility in four years. The terminal ended the tours because of budget constraints.

"All in all, it has been a lot of fun, and my feet hurt," Ms. McCarthy said yesterday as Portfest '93 ended.

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