MAKING IT OFFICIAL:The Navy's USS Oriole, a...



The Navy's USS Oriole, a new 188-foot coastal mine-hunter, will be commissioned by the service in ceremonies that include remarks by Navy Secretary John H. Dalton at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Inner Harbor's West Wall.

The ship is unusual because of its glass-reinforced plastic hull. This construction and the limited use of magnetic material throughout reduces its magnetic signature, allowing the ship to effectively hunt and destroy underwater explosives. Christened in Savannah, Ga., by Barbara Robinson, wife of Baltimore Oriole great Frank Robinson, the USS Oriole is the first Navy ship to be commissioned in Baltimore since 1987. Then, the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam was commissioned in Dundalk. Information: 332-4191.

You can share the Korean or Greek experience this weekend at two annual ethnic festivals.

* The 18th Korean festival is being conducted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at Hopkins Plaza. You'll find tae kwon do demonstrations, costumed dancers, food and other features of Korean life. Information: 837-4636.

* Starting tonight and continuing through Sunday, attend the 24th Greek festival not far north of the Inner Harbor, at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Maryland Avenue and Preston Street. Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and tomorrow; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. Information: 727-1831.


The U.S. Postal Service is issuing a 32-cent stamp honoring Baltimore native Eubie Blake, the late ragtime pianist, and Sunday, local ceremonies will allow you to obtain an unusual postmark to go with the stamp.

Ceremonies at 3 p.m. at the Eubie Blake Museum and Cultural Center, 34 Market Place, will feature Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Irene A. Lericos, the Postal Service's mid-Atlantic manager. An enlarged copy of the stamp that will remain on display at the museum will be unveiled. And "Ragtime Station," a temporary postal station at the museum, will offer a limited pictorial postmark and other collectibles from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Information: 625-3113 or 625-3808.

You'll see lots of them around this weekend, taking part in the 11th annual Natural Products Expo East trade show at the Baltimore Convention Center. Organizers say they expect about to attend the show of natural foods and other natural products, which runs through Monday. It's not open to the public, however.

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