Big events before the Big Event


The following events are planned for Preakness Celebration '94:


* Preakness Celebration Hot Balloon Launch, Timonium Fairgrounds, Timonium. A dusk launch of 50 hot air balloons kicks off the '94 Preakness Celebration at 5:30 p.m. Free.

* Bud Light Nights, Water Street, downtown Baltimore. Outdoor block parties featuring live music, entertainment and refreshments take place today through May 20 (except Sunday) from 5:30 p.m. to midnight (except Saturday when the party starts at noon). Admission is $1 with a Preakness pin.


* First National Bank Hot Air Balloon Lift-Off and Children's ZooFest, Druid Hill Park. Up to 50 hot air balloons lift off at 6:30 a.m., signaling the start of a children's festival inside the Baltimore Zoo. Live entertainment, music, refreshments and exhibitions continue until 2 p.m. Free.

* Fila 5-K Preakness Run Presented by U.S. Healthcare, Charles Street, Key Highway and Pratt Street. The prelude to the Preakness parade starts at 9:30 a.m. and features a race along downtown streets. Registration is $14 in advance, $15 the day of the race.

* Preakness Celebration Parade, downtown Baltimore. Starting at 10 a.m., the procession marches south on Charles Street and east on Pratt Street past the Inner Harbor to Market Place. Actors Ned Beatty and Yaphet Kotto are the grand marshals of this year's parade, sponsored by Coca-Cola, Giant, T. Rowe Price and U.S. Healthcare. Free.

* The Pimlico Special, Pimlico Race Course. Some of the nation's top handicap horses -- including Triple Crown winners -- compete in a stakes race worth $600,000. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Call (410) 542-9400 for information.

* Crown Central Petroleum BalloonGlow and Country Concert, Oregon Ridge Park, Cockeysville. From 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., WPOC radio presents performers Neal McCoy and Bobby Cryner, with a glowing finale by up to 50 colorful hot air balloons. Proceeds benefit the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Advance tickets are $10, $12 at the gate; kids under 12 admitted free.

* WorldFest at Market Place, 34 Market Place (formerly the Brokerage Plaza). Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. Market Place comes alive with an international festival featuring food, decorations, dances and customs from around the globe. Listen to Lite 102-FM for details. WJZ, Continental Airlines are sponsors of this free event.


* Hot Air Balloon Race, Oregon Ridge Park, Cockeysville. Skilled balloon pilots compete in tests of dexterity and accuracy starting at 6:30 a.m. Free.

* Bay Bash, Sandy Point State Park, Annapolis. More than 20 hot air balloons take flight over the Chesapeake Bay near the Bay Bridge. The festival, from noon to 8 p.m., also features live music and arts and crafts. Admission is $6 for adults, free for kids under 12.


* The Fantasy Golf Challenge Preakness Celebrity Pro-Am, Crofton Country Club, Crofton. National celebrities and athletes tee off at 9 a.m. with national professionals, local amateurs, Preakness Celebration guests, including former Orioles Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell, and members of the cast of "Homicide." Sponsored by WBAL radio and American Airlines. Admission is $10 for spectators, $400 for single golfers, $1,500 for foursomes.


* Pee Wee Preakness, Rash Field, Inner Harbor. A mini-Preakness for the kids riding hobbyhorses starts at 11:30 a.m. Call (410) 837-4636 for more information. Free.


* Amoco's Preakness LaserFest, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. A laser shows follows the Orioles-Red Sox game. Oriole tickets required.


* Triple Crown Ball, Hyatt Regency, Inner Harbor. The social highlight of the Preakness season features the Four Tops and benefits the Ronald McDonald House. McDonald's is the host of the black-tie gala, which begins at 7 p.m. Admission is by invitation only.

May 20

* Coca-Cola Preakness Eve Jam, Harborview Marina, 1225 Key Highway. The grand finale of the '94 Preakness Celebration features a '60s revival with the Turtles, Paul Revere and the Raiders, and Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. Local musicians perform at 5 p.m. The headliners take the stage at 7 p.m. Admission is $15. Tickets can be purchased at TicketMaster locations or by calling (410) 481-SEAT. Sponsored by WBAL-TV.

May 21

* The 119th Running of the Preakness Stakes, Pimlico Race Course. America's finest 3-year-old thoroughbreds race in the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Admission is $15 in advance for the infield, $20 day of the race; $15 for the clubhouse, $12 for the grandstand. Call (410) 542-9400 for more ticket information.

For more information on Preakness Celebration events, call (410) 837-3030.

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