Child's Play

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It's not often that underage driving is celebrated, but putting kids behind the wheel is exactly what soapbox derby racing is all about. On Saturday, dozens of youths ages 8 to 17 will zoom downhill at the Washington Soap Box Derby.

The day-long event boasts an 800-foot Capitol Hill course and races in three divisions: stock, super stock and masters. Of course, this being Washington, it took an act of Congress to allow the race to happen. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) passed a resolution last month that authorized use of the Capitol grounds for the race.

The roadsters -- mini, motorless, plastic cars constructed by hand from ready-to-assemble kits -- can go as fast as 30 mph. The inaugural competition in 1938 was held on New Hampshire Avenue but has since moved to Constitution Avenue. This year's winners will qualify for spots at the All-American Soap Box Derby July 21 in Akron, Ohio.

-- Akeya Dickson

Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. On Constitution Avenue NW between New Jersey and Louisiana avenues. Free. 410-531-5268.

More Child's Play

MONGOLIAN CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL-- Today, 1-6 p.m. The fest by and for children celebrates culture and features young performers and art competitions. Rosslyn Spectrum Theatre, 1611 N. Kent St., Arlington. Free. 703-228-1850.

CHILDREN'S ART FESTIVAL-- Today, 2-4 p.m. Includes an instrument petting zoo, art stations and dance. Presented by the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra. Schlesinger Center, 3001 N. Beauregard St., Alexandria. $5, $20 per family. 703-548-0885.

PARENT AND CHILD FISHING-- Thursday at 6 p.m. Fish from a boat and follow a naturalist to fishing spots on the Potomac. Riverbend Park, 8700 Potomac Hills St., Great Falls. $20. For reservations, call 703-759-9018.

WOODWORKING FOR WILDLIFE-- Thursday at 7 p.m. Ages 5 and older. Learn about flying squirrels and craft a feeder to attract them to your trees. Brookside Nature Center, Wheaton Regional Park, 1400 Glenallan Ave., Wheaton. $15. For reservations, call 301-946-9071.

LADYBUG RELEASE-- Friday at 10 a.m. Watch as ladybugs, one of nature's pest controls, are released into the Native Croplands on the south side of the National Museum of the American Indian. Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW. Free. 202-633-1000.

SUMMER EXPLOSION DANCE WORKSHOP-- Friday, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Ages 7-14. Learn ballet, hip-hop, jazz and more on the first day of summer vacation for schools in Prince George's County. Sister's Keeper Resource Center, 6900 Piscataway Rd., Clinton. $25. For reservations, call 202-391-4357.

MUSIGANZA-- Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Features Grammy-winning artists Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Tom Paxton and Milkshake. Also includes face painting, balloon making and arts and crafts. Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm, 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg. Free. 301-840-3267.

DIY MODERNIST FAMILY WEEKEND: FASHION FORWARD-- Saturday-June 17, noon-4 p.m. Create original fashions for a modernist girl or boy. Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. $14, seniors and military $12, students $10, 5 and younger free. 202-639-1770.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company