Fall festivals are traditionally ripe with apple harvest days and autumn color. This weekend two celebrations of local waterways -- the C&O Canal and the Patuxent River -- compete for top billing.

Saturday and Sunday 11 to 6, C&O Canal Days in Georgetown celebrate the canal's heyday, when it was the main form of transportation for barges carrying coal and grains from Cumberland to Washington. The flavor of the late 1800s is recreated through old-time music -- gospel, blues and country -- 2 to 4 both days, while costumed minstrels stroll along the water entertaining all day both days. Demonstrations of fly-fishing and other crafts of the time are free, too: spinning and woodworking, basketry and weaving. Artists will be painting along the canal, park rangers will give free guided walks from 1 to 6 both days, and there'll be barge rides on the water, with sign-language interpreters. At the Foundry Mall at 30th and Thomas Jefferson Streets NW. Rain date: October 16 and 17. Call 965- 3100 (or 862-1328, Friday only).

The Patuxent River Appreciation Days will be held Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 6 at Solomons, one of the last strongholds of the Chesapeake Bay watermen. Emphasis will be on seafood, boat building and commercial fishing techniques. To reach Solomons take the Capital Beltway to Maryland Route 4 south (exit 11A) for 52 miles to the Island. For further information, call 301/843-8367.

More autumn activities for the choosing:

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

FESTIVALS NEIGHBORHOOD OPEN HOUSE, Saturday, 4 to 7, St. Margaret's Church, 1820 Connecticut Avenue NW. Dixieland jazz, refreshments, balloons and skits to celebrate the parish hall renovation. Free.

CHRISTMAS SHOP, Friday, 10 to 4, at the Mayflower Hotel. 30 exhibitors show and sell art, antiques, jewelry, toys and food, by the Junior League of Washington. Admission is $3.50.

PEACE DAY CELEBRATION, Sunday, 11 to 4, Constitution Gardens, adjacent to the Washington Monument. Clowns, mimes, singers, dancers, bands and Mayor Barry will deliver a peace day proclamation at 1:30. Free. 544-0805.

STREET FESTIVAL, Sunday, 11 to 6, on Mount Pleasant Road from Park to Kenyon Roads NW. Ethnic entertainment, art show, silk- screening, puppet making, juggling and food. Free. 232-3251.

COLUMBUS DAY CELEBRATION, Monday, 10:30, Columbus Memorial Statue, in front of Union Station. A wreath-laying ceremony followed by a parade to the Ellipse. Free. 426-6700.

HOUSE TOURS

DECORATOR SHOW HOUSE, Friday and Saturday, 10 to 3, Sunday, noon to 5 and Monday to Thursday, 10 to 3, Hillandale, 39th Street and Reservoir Road NW. Sponsored by the Women's Committee of the National Symphony Orchestra. Shows 34 rooms and areas by 30 local designers through October 31. Admission is $7 at door. Group rate: $6 for 20 or more. 338-3901.

OCTOBER 17, Chevy Chase, D.C., House Tour, 1 to 5. Tickets available at Lafayette School, Broad Branch and Northampton Streets NW. Tour seven homes in the area. Admission $5 in advance, $6 day of the tour. 966-5286.

ANTIQUES/AUCTIONS

GEORGETOWN VISITATION ANTIQUES SHOW AND SALE, Friday preview, 7 to 9, Saturday, 11 to 8, Sunday, noon to 6, 1524 35th Street NW, Georgetown. Formal and country furniture, quilts, silver and porcelains. Admission, Friday preview $5, Saturday and Sunday $2. 924-2551.

FLEA MARKETS

GOODWILL BOOK SALE, Friday and Saturday 10 to 6, Sunday noon to 5 at 1050 Connecticut Avenue NW (Washington Square). 45 categories of books and records, stamps, art and collectibles. Free admission.

BAZAAR, Saturday 10 to 3, Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Handicrafts, collectibles, appliances, books and more. Free.

COMING UP

OCTOBER 16, Flea Market, 10 to 2, Lafayette School, Broad Branch and Northampton Streets NW. Treasure chest, games and apple cider. Free. 966-6263.

OCTOBER 16, Second Annual Health Fair, 11 to 5, American Heart Association, 1211 Tuckerman Street NW. Exhibits on nutrition, drug abuse, heart surgery, smoking, kidney dialysis, cancer screening, CPR demonstrations and raffles. Call Linda Parker-Edwards, 726-8950.

OCTOBER 17, Autumnal Festival of Delights, 1 to 4, Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol SE. Renaissance arts and crafts. Admission $5 adults, $2 under 13, under 6 free. 546-4000.

OCTOBER 17, Annunciation School Circus, 11 to 4, 3825 Klingle Place NW. Games, raffles, silent auction, pony rides, country store. Free. 363-1840. OCTOBER 17, Harvest Fair, noon to 5, Independence Garden, Sixth Street and Independence Avenue SW. Music, dance, games, pumpkin carving, apple-bobbing, scarecrow contest and photography contest. Free. 234-6300.

OCTOBER 17, Kalorama House Tour, noon to 5. Sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson House Advisory Council to benefit the Woodrow Wilson House Museum. The tour includes the 1927 Georgian-style house of Rep. James H. Scheuer (D-N.Y.) and his wife, interior designer Emily Malino. Tickets $10. 387-4062.

OCTOBER 23, Oktoberfest, 10:30 to 4:30, Church of the Epiphany, 1317 G Street NW. Handicrafts, collectibles, toys, Christmas items and white elephants. 347-2635.

OCTOBER 23, Bazaar, 11 to 4, Annunciation Church, 3810 Massachusetts Avenue NW. Handmade clothes, tote bags, pillows and a treasure chest. 362-3323.

OCTOBER 23, Law Fair, 10 to 3, Mount Carmel Baptist Church, Third and I Streets NW. Discussions on law related topics and law workshops. Free. 724-0456 or 829-0322.

MARYLAND

FESTIVALS

BALTIMORE INTERNATIONAL JUMPING CLASSIC, Friday, 1 and 8, Saturday, 1 and 7:30, Sunday, 1:30, Baltimore Civic Center, 201 W. Baltimore Street. Horse show and competition. To charge tickets, call 301/659-7165. For information, call 301/837-0900.

WILDFOWL CARVING AND ART EXHIBIT, Friday and Saturday, 10 to 9, Sunday, 10 to 4, Wicomico County Youth and Civic Center, on Glen Avenue opposite Salisbury Mall. Carving demonstrations and exhibits. 301/742-3201.

VICTORIAN CRAFT FAIR, Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4, Surratt House and Tavern, 9110 Brandywine Road, Clinton. Weaving, looming, English smocking and other early crafts demonstrated and for sale. Admission is $1, 50 cents for students and 75 cents for those over 65. 868-1121.

OKTOBERFEST, Saturday, 1 to 7, Hard Bargain Farm, on Brian Point Road, Accokeek. German food, costumes, music and dance. Admission. 301/292-5665.

15TH ANNUAL GARRETT COUNTY AUTUMN GLORY FESTIVAL, Friday and Saturday, 10 to 9, Sunday, 10 to 6, Oakland (31/2 hours from D.C.). Banjo and fiddle contests, antique auto show, parades, crafts and Oktoberfest. 301/334-3888.

MAYO ARTS FESTIVAL, Saturday, 9 to 3, St. Andrew the Fisherman Church, intersection of Route 214 and Carr's Wharf Road, Mayo. A show and sale. 301/798-1533.

THIRD ANNUAL FALL PUMPKIN FESTIVAL, Saturday, 10 to 5, Innstead Farm, 18020 Edwards Ferry Road, Poolesville, Maryland. Bluegrass music, hayrides, animal walk, farm machinery display and pumpkin picking. 301/972-7247. SIXTH ANNUAL OKTOBERFEST, Saturday, 7:30 to 11, Gaithersburg Community Center, 810 S. Frederick Avenue. German food, music and dancing. Admission $7.50 advance, $9.50 at the door. For ticket information, call 840-1862.

19TH ANNUAL CATOCTIN COLORFEST, Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 6, Thurmont, Maryland. Wood crafts, pottery, leather, chair-caning demonstrations, American folk music and square dancing. Free. 301/663-8703.

COMMUNITY FAIR, Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 5, Sabillasville School, off Route 550, eight miles north of Thurmont. Display and sale of agricultural produce, crafts, steam engine display, antiques and country music and food. Free. 301/241-3070.

OKTOBERFEST, Saturday, 10 to 5, Sunday, noon to 5, Schifferstadt Farm House, on the corner of Second Street and Rosemont Avenue, Frederick. German music and dancing, slide show, tours, pony rides and food. Free. 301/663-8703.

FALL HARVEST DAYS, Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 5, Carroll County country folksingers, horse and wagon rides, crafts, tours of the main house. Admission $2 adults, $1 under 13. 301/848-7775.

HOUSE TOURS

OLDE PRINCESS ANNE DAYS, Saturday, 11 to 5, Sunday, noon to 5, on Route 13 south, Princess Anne, Maryland (21/2 hours away). Tours of 15 restored historic homes and sites. Take U.S. 50 east to Salisbury, then south on Route 13. Admission $7, under 12 free. 301/651-1705.

POTOMAC COUNTRY HOUSE TOUR, Sunday, noon to 6, Monday, 11 to 4, St. Francis Episcopal Church, 10033 River Road. Tour of five country houses, luncheon and fashion show both days. Sunday tea from 4 to 6. Tickets are $6 in advance from area stores or from St. Francis Episcopal Church. Tickets are $7 tour days. 365-2055.

ANTIQUES/AUCTIONS

FREDERICK AUCTION AND DINNER BENEFIT, Friday, 6 to 10, Sheraton Inn, 5400 Sheraton Drive, Frederick. Open bar, prime rib dinner and auction featuring world vacation destinations. Proceeds to benefit the construction of a new Maryland Tourist Center. Tickets $100 per person. 301/663-8687.

THIRD ANNUAL BURTONSVILLE ANTIQUE FESTIVAL, Saturday, 9 to 5, Lions Den, on Route 198, 1/2 mile west of Route 29, Burtonsville, Maryland. Furniture decoys, quilts, dolls and glassware. Admission $1. 301/490-6171.

FLEA MARKETS

GREENBELT COMMUNITY SALE, Saturday, 9 to 3, Greenbelt Nursing Center, 7010 Greenbelt Road. White elephant, clothes, toys and novelties. Free. 345-9595.

GREENBELT CULTURAL ARTS CENTER, Saturday, 10 to 4, Old Greenbelt Shopping Center, on Centerway Road in front of the Utopia Theater. Arts, crafts, housewares, furnishings and toys. 474-7841.

GAITHERSBURG OUTDOOR MARKET, Saturday, 10 to 3, in the parking lot on Summit Avenue, across from the Gaithersburg City Hall. Crafts, white elephant, food and novelties. Free. 840-1862.

COMING UP

OCTOBER 15-16, Middle Eastern Food Fair and Bazaar, Friday, 11 to 9, Saturday, 10 to 9, St. Francis Episcopal Church, River and Counselman Roads, Potomac. Arts, crafts, boutique items and raffle. Free. 365-0932.

OCTOBER 15-17, Maryland Crafts Festival, Friday, noon to 9, Saturday, 10 to 9, Sunday, 10 to 6, Maryland State Fairgrounds, Timonium. Bluegrass music, marionette shows and over 250 craftspeople displaying their goods. Admission $3 adults, under 12 free. Call 301/831-9191, before October 11.

OCTOBER 15-17, Seventh Annual National Craft Fair, 10 to 6, Montgomery County Fairgrounds, Gaithersburg. Over 300 professional exhibitors from across the country, Herbie Mann performs on Saturday and Sunday. Admission $3.50, children under 12 free. 301/432-8438.

OCTOBER 16, Yard Sale, 10 to 4, Forest Heights Municipal Building, 5508 Arapahoe Drive. Novelties, toys, housewares and white elephants. Free. 567-4928. OCTOBER 16, Baltimore's Beautiful Spaces House Tour, 9 to 5. A tour of Baltimore's 19th- and 20th-century homes and sites conducted by landscape architect James Matthew Evans, ASLA. The tour begins and ends at the Capital Hilton Hotel, 16th and K Streets NW. Tickets are $42.50. 775-1999.

OCTOBER 16-17, Oktoberfest, Saturday, 10 to dusk, Sunday, noon to dusk, Berrywine Plantations Winery, 13601 Glisans Mill Road, Mount Airy. Helicopter rides, winery tours, arts, crafts, music and Italian food. 301/662-8687.

OCTOBER 16-17, Oyster Festival and Cook-off, Saint Mary's County Fairgrounds, on Route 5, two miles south of Leonardtown. National oyster-shucking contest and lots of oysters to eat. 301/872-5040.

OCTOBER 16-17, Antique Show, Saturday, 11 to 8, Sunday, noon to 6, Leonard Hall Junior Naval Academy, Leonardtown. Glassware, china, silver, dolls, furniture and jewelry. Admission $2.50. 301/475-2554, 301/475-9589 or 301/274-3907.

OCTOBER, 16-17, Dolls' House and Miniatures, 10 to 6, Holton-Arms School, 7303 River Road, Bethesda, Maryland. More than 45 craftspeople show and sell their miniatrues. Admission $3 adults, $1 under 13. 365-5300, ext. 49.

OCTOBER 16-17, 19-24, Ninth Annual Needlework Show, daily, 10 to 4, except Sunday, noon to 4, London Town Publik House andGardens, 839 Londontown Road, Edgewater. Heritage linen featured. Admission $2.50 adults, $1.75 seniors, $1 under 13. 301/956-4900.

OCTOBER 17, Aboriginal Life Day, noon to 4, Chancellor's Point Natural History Area, in southern Maryland on Route 5. Aboriginal sauna, bow and arrow making, games and Indian artifact identification. 301/862-1634 or 301/994-0808.

OCTOBER 17, Rummage Sale, 10 to 4, Richard Montgomery High School, Viers Mill Road and Route 355, Rockville. Toys, housewares, clothes and novelties. Free. 946-1062.

OCTOBER 23, Bazaar, 10 to 4, All Saints Church, 3 Chevy Chase Circle, Chevy Chase. Kilted bagpipers, pony rides, moon bounce, live and silent auctions, antiques and handmade items. 654-2488.

OCTOBER 23, Christmas Bazaar, 3:30 to 7:30, Forest Memorial United Methodist Church, 3111 Forestville Road, Forestville. Face painting, kiddie corner, handicrafts and music. 736-4115.

OCTOBER 24, Quilt Show, 10:30 to 4, Clara Barton House, 5801 Oxford Road, Glen Echo, Maryland. Demonstration, display and sale. Free. 492-6245.

OCTOBER 24, Linwood Children's Center Open House, 1 to 5, 3421 Church Road, Ellicott City. Celebrate the rebuilding of the children's center, a historic 200-year-old structure. Free. 301/465-1352.

OCTOBER 30, Halloween Party, 6 p.m. to midnight, Maryland Science Center, Inner Harbor, Baltimore. Events and activities for young and old. Admission: seniors and students, $2; adults, $3; children under 12, $1.50, family fee, $8. 301/685-2370 or 301/685-5225.

OCTOBER 30-31, Chesapeake Appreciation Days, 9 to 5, Sandy Point State Park, off Route 50 east, at base of Bay Bridge. Skipjack races, maritime exhibits and land, sea and air activities. Admission: seniors, $2; adults, $3; children under 17, $1; under 6, free. 301/757-4100.

VIRGINIA

FESTIVALS

HARVEST JUBILEE, Friday, 10 to 5, Saturday, 9 to 8, Sunday, 1 to 6, events take place on Craghead Street in the Warehouse District of Danville. Best tobacco contest, old timey engine show and a free concert includes performances by Johnny Paycheck, Shelly West, David Frizzell and Porter Wagoner. 804/799-5149.

OYSTER FESTIVAL, Saturday, noon to 4, Maddox Campground on Chincoteague Island. All-you-can-eat oysters and clams. Admission $15 adults, $6 under 13, under 6 free. 804/336-6161.

US AMATEUR BALLROOM DANCING AND COMPETITION, Sunday, 11 to 8, Springfield Hilton, 6550 Loisdale Road. Sponsored by Mid- Eastern Chapter of US Amateur Ballroom Dancers Association. Admission is $10 (15 and under free). 527-0642.

FAIRFAX FALL FESTIVAL, Saturday, noon to 5, University Drive and Main Street. Works of more than 350 area artisans, plus live entertainment, clowns, a petting zoo and rides for children. Free.

OKTOBERFEST, Saturday, 9 to 7, St. Charles Church, 3304 N. Washington Boulevard, Arlington. Crafts, rides, games and German dinner served from four to seven. Free. 527-5500.

AMHERST COUNTY APPLE HARVEST ARTS AND CRAFTS FESTIVAL, Saturday, 9 to 6, Sunday, noon to 5, Monelison Jr. High, Daniels Drive, Madison Heights (about 4 hours from D.C.). Local arts and crafts from tole painting to hooked rugs. 804/946-5445.

FALL FOLIAGE FESTIVAL, Saturday, 9 to 9, Sunday, noon to 6, on Main Street in Waynesboro (about 3 hours from D.C.). Gospel singing, auction, arts, crafts, antiques and music. 703/949-8203.

NEEDLEWORK EXHIBIT, Sunday, noon to 6, Monday, 9 to 3, Fredericksburg Savings and Loan, 400 George Street. A competition in all aspects of needlework. Entrance fee $2 adults, $1 under 17. General admission $1.50. 703/373-1428.

HOUSE TOURS

COLUMBUS DAY TOURS, Monday, Alexandria. Tour Gadsby's Tavern and the Carlyle House from 10 to 5 and Lee boyhood home from 10 to 4. Admission $1.50 adults, 75 cents under 18, under 6 free. 549-0205.

ANTIQUE/AUCTIONS

WINCHESTER'S 19TH ANNUAL SHOW AND SALE, Friday and Saturday, 11 to 9, Sunday, non to 6, War Memorial Building, Winchester. Glassware, china furniture, jewelry, quilts, prints, silver and food. Admission $1.50. 703/662-4946.

FLEA MARKETS

CHRISTMAS SHOP, Friday and Saturday, 10 to 5, Episcopal Parish House, on U.S. 50, Middleburg. Country kitchen, holiday crafts, quilts, kid's clothes and jewelry. Free. 703/687-6366 or 703/687-6297.

SPRINGFIELD JAYCEES, Saturday, 10 to 4, Springfield Plaza, at I-395 and Backlick Road. Household items, furniture, clothes and white elephants. 451-5380.

COMING UP

OCTOBER 15-16, Oktoberfest, Friday, 10 to 9, Saturday, 10 to 8, St. John School, Winchester and King Streets, Warrenton. Christmas shop, country cupboard, floral arrangements, games, raffles and German food. Free. 703/788-9790 or 703/754-9278.

OCTOBER 16, Country Fair, 10 to 4, Westminster School, 3819 Gallows Road, Annandale. Games, prizes, raffle, crafts and bluegrass music. 941-7644.

OCTOBER 16, Oktoberfest, 9:30 to 6:30, Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry Street SE. Crafts, arts, games, antiques and German food. 560-7612. OCTOBER 16, Home Crafts Day, 10 to 5, Mountain Empire Community College, Big Stone Gap, southwestern Virginia. Butter churning, basket making, mountain music, dancing and craft workshops. Free. 703/523-2400, ext. 204.

OCTOBER 16-17, Pet Farm Park Fall Animal Festival, 10 to 5, 1228 Hunter Mill Road, Vienna. Hay wagon rides, country music, clowns, apple cider, cookies and blacksmithing demonstrations. Admission $2.25, under 2 free. 759-3636.

OCTOBER 16-17, 11th Annual Harvest Days, Our Musical Heritage, 11 to 5, Sully Plantation, Chantilly. Square dancing, craft workshops and music by the Mill Run Dulcimer Band. Admission $3 adults, $1 under 13. 437-1794.

OCTOBER 16-23, NationallTobacco Festival, Richmond. Tobaccoland beauty contest, parade and the Tobacco Bowl, University of Richmond v. V.M.I. For times and details, (804)358-1979.

OCTOBER 23, Bake, Book and Bach Sale, 10 to 3, Skyline Shopping Mall, 5100 Leesburg Pike. Used books, baked goods and background music by Bach. 558-2165.

OCTOBER 23, Fall Festival and Flea Market, 10 to 2, Tuckahoe Elementary School, 6550 N. 26th Street, Arlington. Pumpkins, baked goods, crafts, housewares and games. Free. 536-3034 after 6.