One of Maryland’s most storied sporting events, the Preakness Stakes, will run for the 144th time at Pimilco in Baltimore next Saturday. Charm City is launching a whole week of festivities surrounding the big race, bringing the celebration downtown and all the way to the waterfront.
The week begins with four evenings of special outdoor happy hours Monday, May 13 through Thursday, May 17, at Center Plaza downtown. Wednesday’s happy hour features Lexington Market’s Crab Derby Race, and live reggae music from well-known local band Jah Works.
Also on Wednesday, kids can get involved with the horse racing spirit at Pee Wee Preakness. Young jockeys will compete on bouncy balls and in sacks for the Pee Wee Crown of racing, held in Patterson Park, within walking distance of the Canton waterfront. There are also hula hoop performances, balloon artists, and kids’ crafts.
On Friday, the eve of the Preakness, a fireworks show lights up the Inner Harbor. It’s part of the Race to Preakness Inner Harbor Party & Fireworks Finale, which also has top regional bands including a star from the TV show “The Voice.” There will even be a drone racing event, to keep the race theme going.
The citywide celebration of Preakness week emphasizes Baltimore’s push to keep the Preakness in Charm City. With hundreds of millions of dollars in renovations needed at the aging Pimlico Race Course, there are indications its owners will move the historic race to Laurel Park. Baltimore City doesn’t want to see that happen.
“The Preakness Stakes is an important part of Baltimore. With the week-long celebration, Baltimore is continuing to show its commitment to keeping the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course. The activities are a fun way of getting residents and visitors involved in the excitement leading up to this national event,” says Tracy Baskerville, spokesperson for Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts.
To get details on the entire schedule of Preakness week events, click here.
-Meg Walburn Viviano