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SBD/Issue 131/Events & AttractionsPrint All
Rock band O.A.R. and country group Zac Brown Band "will headline this year's Preakness InfieldFest May 15, marking the second straight year music is replacing beer cans at the historic event," according to Ryan Sharrow of the BALTIMORE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Organizers last year "ended a longstanding tradition allowing patrons to bring in their own beer at Pimlico Race Course." Instead, the infield "featured sporting events and rock acts." For the '10 event, tickets to the infield, which is "sponsored by Budweiser Select, were reduced by $10 to $40 in advance and $50 on Preakness Day." For an "additional $20, fans can receive a souvenir mug with unlimited refills of beer." The souvenir beer mug is "new to this year's party." The Toyota Pro Beach East Volleyball Tour also "will kick off its 2010 season" on the Pimlico infield for the second straight year (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/19). In Baltimore, Sam Sessa noted organizers this year are "adding a dash of debauchery to the infield to lure back the thousands of lost revelers" from last year. The changes are "designed to boost attendance, which dropped nearly 35,000, to about 77,000, in 2009." Under the track's new drinking policy, fans "will be able to pay $20 for 16-ounce mugs of beer with unlimited refills." Individual beers will cost $3, down from $3.50. Outside food and coolers "will still be allowed, but any drinks, including water, are off-limits" (Baltimore SUN, 3/20). Also in Baltimore, Andy Green wrote the Maryland Jockey Club is "largely sticking to its guns." The $20 souvenir beer mug "certainly pulls the event back in the direction of drunkenness," but it "remains an improvement over the old days." The mug is also a "step backward in the drive to create a more stately infield, and it remains unlikely that the scene at Pimlico is going to be confused with Churchill Downs any time soon." Green: "But considering the second-guessing the jockey club faced after last year's attendance drop, sticking with even a watered down version of the buy-your-own policy remains laudable" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 3/19).