THE MARCHING Terrapins will play a stately march written for the event, ethnic groups will follow in colorful native costumes and hundreds of the faithful will bring up the rear as Pope John Paul II leads his first parade.
Although the pope customarily travels in a motorcade through the cities he visits, on Sunday he will be followed for the first time by an old-fashioned parade.
"In no other city have they had units or music or faithful of any type following the pope. It was simply the pope in the popemobile," said Sheila Kelly, director of human resources for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, who is coordinating the parade.
"I think parades are very American," she said. "The idea just grew, why not have a parade, a real parade to follow the pope, both as an extension of the celebration and as entertainment for the people who have been standing there four or five hours waiting to see the pope?"
The papal parade is scheduled to begin at Pratt and Paca streets about 1:30 p.m. and will proceed east on Pratt Street, north on Light Street west on Baltimore Street and north on Charles. The pope will leave the parade route at Charles and Saratoga streets, but the parade units will continue west on Saratoga to Park Avenue.
The parade, which will begin immediately after the Mass at Camden Yards, will be the best opportunity for the public to glimpse the pontiff outside the stadium.
Although the parade was designed to be fun, there are some limits dictated by decorum. "It's really more of a people parade. There are no floats. None of the units will stop to entertain," Ms. Kelly said. "It's people honoring the pope."
Security concerns dictated that the pope come first in the parade, preceded only by a police escort and a press truck. "Some people have asked me, 'Is this going to be like Thanksgiving, where Santa Claus comes at the end?'" Ms. Kelly said. "No, it's not. The pope comes first because they could secure that."
The University of Maryland band will march close behind the pope, so he may be able to hear the Maryland Ceremonial March, written by composer Lestor Taylor for this event.
"It even has a little tinge of 'Maryland My Maryland' in it," said L. Richmond Sparks, the University of Maryland's associate director of bands.
The Marching Terrapins will be followed by various ethnic groups in native dress, including groups representing the Korean, Polish, Greek Orthodox, Italian, Indian, Lithuanian, Vietnamese and Hispanic communities.
About 250 members of the Federation of Hispanic Organizations of Baltimore will march. "We'll have everyone from children to elderly people who will be marching," said Carmen Nieves, president of the federation. "It's a big deal for us. And it's a big honor."
The Calvert High School Marching Band will represent the archdiocesan schools. They'll play familiar John Philip Sousa marches: "Stars and Stripes Forever," "The Thunderer" and the "Washington Post March." They'll add "Marche Romaine," which is commonly played in papal processions.
Band director Brother Gregory Leonardo said his students are accustomed to performing at important functions, although this will be one of the biggest. But he's had plenty of time to prepare. He recalled that several years ago, the band had just two days notice to learn new music for a local appearance by Dan Quayle, who was then vice president. "So this is easy," he said.