From hosting late-night bocce ball in Little Italy to Gov. Martin O’Malley playing with his Irish rock band at Fort McHenry, the city of Baltimore is doing everything it can to show mayors from across the country a fun time this weekend. The June 17-21 U.S. Conference of Mayors, expected to draw 1,200 to the city and pump $2 million into the local economy, includes daily meetings at the Hilton Baltimore where bigwigs like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will address the crowd on topics like climate protection. But it also showcases Baltimore, allowing government officials like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to loosen their ties and enjoy parties at places like Silo Point and Clipper Mill. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has put together an event itinerary that will keep people moving in the city well after meetings are scheduled.
The event helped book 2,644 room nights at the Hilton starting Thursday. On Friday, meetings will be held for the mayors from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. But beginning at 9 a.m., their spouses will be enjoying the city. After being treated to a trip to the Baltimore Museum of Art , spouses will have the option to head out to lunch with Gertrude’s chef John Shields or to enjoy a Civil War Tour. At 6 p.m., everyone will convene at the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park for dinner and music. Fells Point and Harbor East will be within walking distance, until the after-party kicks the weekend off. That’s when mayors and their spouses will have the opportunity to compete in games of bocce ball in Little Italy, while they enjoy authentic desserts from Italy, Greece, Poland, Russia, Germany and South America.
Saturday, meetings go until 5 p.m. again and while the mayors are talking shop, their spouses will enjoy the National Aquarium and the Maryland Science Center . Afterwards, the city will host “A Star Spangled Night: Oh Say Can You See – It All Started Here!” at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. There, attendees will eat at a “traditional” Maryland crab feast, and enjoy special performers along with a fireworks display. Also, O’Malley will lead his Celtic band, O’Malley's March, as they perform for the crowd. Saturday’s after-party at Silo Point includes food and drink on the 23rd floor penthouse, and an opportunity to speak with Patrick Turner, developer of Silo Point.
As events begin to round out Sunday, mayors will meet from 8 a.m. until noon. But earlier on, in what the city calls a health event at 7:30 a.m., Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ trainer will capture attention. Spouses and family can enjoy a character breakfast including the Oriole bird, the Ravens’ Poe and some Urban Pirates early on. Then, an open day from noon to 5 p.m. will give mayors and their families a chance to see the city on their own time. Concluding the day Sunday, attendees will dine at Woodberry Kitchen and enjoy the corporate and residential campus at Clipper Mill.
Monday’s events close out the conference’s entertainment aspect, with meetings lasting from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Spouses will take tours, in the meantime, with Renaissance Productions and Tours guiding them through Baltimore’s history from an African-American perspective. The American Visionary Art Museum will play host to the dinner of the night, which is scheduled to last from 6 p.m. to midnight. With meetings wrapping up on Tuesday, mayors and other officials should be out of the city by Wednesday. But Mayor Rawlings-Blake hopes the conference leaves an impression of Baltimore which those who attend take home with them. “Mayor Rawlings-Blake is very excited about showcasing Baltimore’s charm, history and renaissance to the nation’s mayors,” said Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s spokesman, Ryan O’Doherty. “It is a very important and unique opportunity to enhance the city’s image among government leaders and national thought leaders.”
Sponsors for the 79th annual Conference of Mayors include its title sponsor Siemens, Wal-Mart , Philips and Microsoft Corp.
City-hosted events are funded by way of 501(c)4 committee raised funds through sponsorships.