O, TANNENBAUM:Christmas trees dripping with tinsel, shiny...



Christmas trees dripping with tinsel, shiny ornaments and decorations that may surprise you will brighten up Festival Hall Sunday through Dec. 12 at the fourth annual Festival of Trees.

Employees from more than 50 Maryland companies have decorated trees to a chosen theme.

The Timonium catering company, Chef's Expressions, trimmed its tree with cranberries, red peppers, nuts and pears. Equestrian fans will get a kick out the tree done up by Maryland Saddlery of Owings Mills -- fuzzy horse figurines dangle from its branches.

Seventy-five 7-foot trees and scores of wreaths crafted by professional designers, interior decorators, florists and architects fill the show's floors.

The event also promises a merry time for kids, who can ride an old-fashioned carousel, pick up gifts for relatives at the "Secret Santa Shop" and walk through the Gingerbread House Village of confectionery art.

Trees and wreaths will be raffled, auctioned or sold with proceeds benefiting the Kennedy Krieger Institute for children with neurological disabilities. Admission: $4 for adults, $2 for seniors and children under 12. Hours: noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 10 and 11, and noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 12. Get a warm glow two times over -- at the city's annual tree-lighting ceremony today and the CSX Intermodal Lighted Boat Parade tomorrow.

Visitors are invited to the Inner Harbor's McKeldin Square at 5:15 tonight, when Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke will bring light to the city's official holiday tree, trimmed in red and silver bows and balls, and adorned with blue lights at the top to honor police officers killed in the line of duty. Hang around afterward for a caroling competition by local choral groups.

The second holiday spectacle takes place on the nearby Inner Harbor. The Parade of Lighted Boats at 6 p.m. tomorrow brings together more than 50 festively adorned power and sailboats that will depart Henderson's Wharf, circle the Inner Harbor twice and return to Fells Point at the foot of Broadway.

Bundle up and scurry to Pier 6 or the Rusty Scupper at 402 Key Highway or all along the waterfront in Fells Point for a view of the splendor. Rain date is Sunday, same time.


Looking for a romantic place to rendezvous this holiday season? Go to Fells Point, where you and your beloved can share quiet moments in a horse-drawn carriage, learn the history of the district on a lamp-lighter's tour and attend Dickens' readings at the Admiral Fell Inn.

Other activities include a performance by the Vagabond Theatre Players of the holiday classic, "The Gift of the Magi." The sixth annual Fells Point Old-Fashioned Candlelight Christmas takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 19. For exact times of readings, plays and carriage rides, pick up a Candlelight Christmas program, available at participating Fells Point shops and restaurants.


Stop sulking over that lost NFL team and make the mad -- for Orioles tickets at the second annual Moonlight Madness Orioles Ticket Sale starting at 4 p.m. today at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. After you scoop up those passes to summer fun, take a tour of the Orioles clubhouse, mingle with current and former players (including Mark McLemore, Tippy Martinez and Dave Johnson), and test your baseball knowledge in trivia contests. You're apt to see some roving Santas, too. Look closely and you might recognize Boog Powell, Al Bumbry and Elrod Hendricks.

Purchases are limited to a maximum of 10 tickets per game for up to eight games. Tickets also will be available at all Orioles ticket outlets, TicketMaster, and area Hecht Co. stores. Moonlight Madness is free, but donations to benefit the Orioles Children's Charities and the WBAL Radio Kids Campaign will be welcome.


In conjunction with NASA's 11-day mission to service and repair the flawed Hubble Telescope, the Maryland Science Center is having a "Hubble Space Telescope Activity Day" from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. tomorrow. Members of the Space Telescope Science Institute's education staff will answer questions from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the space agency's most complex and costly mission to date. Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission: $8.50 for adults, $6.50 for children 4 to 17, military and seniors.

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