Even if you can't score tickets to Wednesday night's Big Game (surely, you don't need to ask, "Which game?"), you can be part of a celebration honoring Orioles shortstop Cal Ripken on Thursday.
Starting at noon, you can watch a parade and ceremony saluting, assuming all goes well, Baltimore's holder of the record for most consecutive games played in major-league baseball history. He's expected to have broken the 2,130-game record held by New York Yankee Lou Gehrig on Wednesday night.
The parade, sponsored by The Baltimore Sun, will begin at Charles and Centre streets and move south on Charles Street, disbanding at the Harborplace Amphitheatre. Area college and high school bands will take part, along with some costumed characters.
The ceremony at Harborplace is expected to begin at 12:45 p.m. Take your camera, because this figures to become a long-lasting piece of baseball and city folklore. Information: 837-4636. An annual antiques and antiquarian book fair will be conducted at the Convention Center downtown from noon to 9 p.m. today and tomorrow, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Thousands of items will be available, including furniture, silver, lamps, clocks, books, textiles and more. Promoters say they'll have 400 dealers from 24 states taking part. Admission is $6. Information: 244-1087.
The USS Oriole, a 188-foot minehunter, in new Navy parlance, will be docked at the Inner Harbor's West Wall before its official commissioning by the Navy. The colorful commissioning ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Harborplace Amphitheatre.
The ship will be open for free tours from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Sept. 13.
Sail Baltimore is host of the USS Oriole's visit. Sail Baltimore is sponsored by Coca-Cola, Harborplace and the Gallery, Baltimore Gas and Electric, and CSX Intermodal. Information: 752-8632.
See a photo exhibit, "Monterrey Towards its 400 Years," at the Top of World Observation Level and Museum, 401 E. Pratt St., Sunday through Oct. 3. Admission. Information: 837-4515.
* Catch some calypso Thursday and tour galleries as part of the First Thursdays promotion by North Charles Street merchants. The Baltimore T & T Steel Orchestra will perform a free concert and play during a barbecue on the parking lot next to Louie's Bookstore Cafe, 518 N. Charles St. Participating galleries will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Information: 244-1030.
* Learn about steamboats aboard the Maryland Historical Society's restored skipjack, the Minnie V, on Tuesday and Thursday. David Holley, author of "Tidewater by Steamboat," will speak about steamboating in Baltimore Harbor. Admission. Information: 685-3750.