Hopes will be soaring this weekend at the Montgolfier Dulles International Balloon Races benefiting United Cerebral Palsy.

On Saturday or Sunday, you can head on out to Dulles Airport and get a beautiful view of the country from 75 feet up, in a tethered hot air balloon. For the more adventurous -- and wealthy -- you can tag along in an actual balloon race for a sky- high $100. If you're happier with your feet on the ground, food, drinks and bluegrass music will be provided while you watch the more than 25 balloons in action.

Admission to the following activities is free unless otherwise noted.

SENIOR CITIZEN PARTY -- Friday, 10 a.m. to 2, Good Luck Community Center, 8601 Good Luck Rd., Lanham. Dancing, ceramics, exercise and needlework. Bring a lunch and a friend. 552-1093.

ARTS AND CRAFTS EXPO -- Friday and Saturday, 10 to 9:30; Sunday, noon to 5, Landmark Center, at Duke Street and I-395, Alexandria. (Take I-395 to Duke Street east exit to center). Fifty artisans display their wares, including pottery, jewelry and lucite sculpture. 751-3050.

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY FAIR -- Friday-Sunday, 11 to 10 p.m., County Equestrian Center, U.S. 301 and Maryland Route 4, Upper Marlboro (take Beltway to Route 4 east and follow signs to fairgrounds). Join the fun at the fair, which includes pig races, a pie-eating contest and a country/western battle of the bands. Adults $4; children seven to 12, $2. 301/952-0270.

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY FAIR -- Friday 4 to 11 p.m.; Saturday 9 to 11 p.m.; Sunday 9 to 8 p.m., Crownsville, Md. (from U.S. 50 east, exit at Parole/Crownsville, west on Route 178 four miles to Crownsville, follow signs to fairground). Dance demonstrations, a horse show, bluegrass and rock music are just some of the highlights at the fair. Seniors $1.50, adults $2, children $1. 301/923-3400.

COMIC BOOK AND SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION -- Saturday, 9 to 5, Armory Place, 925 Wayne Ave., Silver Spring. Guest artists, art contests, door prizes and movies, including "Road Warrior." Admission $4. 292-4587.

RUMORS REGATTA -- Saturday, 11 a.m., Tidal Basin. Splash along in this benefit paddleboat race. Registration at 10; $25 per boat. 223-5400.

BALLOON RIDES -- Saturday, dawn to dusk; Sunday, dawn to dusk, Dulles Airport (from the Beltway, take the Dulles Access Road to Service Road A, veer right and follow signs). Soar to new heights in a tethered balloon or enjoy bluegrass music and food, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to noon. Or come early and ride along on a balloon race, Saturday, 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.; Sunday, 7 a.m. Tether rides: adults $4, children $2. Balloon race ride: older than 16 only, $100. 269-1686.

ART AND BOOK FAIR -- Saturday, 9:30 to 3, Palisades Community Church, 5200 Cathedral Ave. NW. Books of all subjects on sale as well as paintings, pottery and sculptures. 966- 7929.

COLONIAL FAIR -- Saturday noon to 7; Sunday 10 to 4, The Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run, 6310 Old Georgetown Pike, McLean (George Washington Parkway to Route 123, one mile to right on Route 193, farm is first right). Relive the 18th century with craftspeople and the Fairfax County Militia; food and drink for sale. 703/442-7557.

OLD TOWN TOUR -- Saturday and Monday, 10:30 a.m.; Sunday, 2, Ramsay House Visitors Center, 221 King St., Alexandria. Take a special tour retracing the steps of George Washington and Robert E. Lee with a colonial- attired guide through the cobblestoned streets of Old Town Alexandria. Adults $2; ages seven to 15, $1. 548-0100.

CANAL TOUR -- Wednesday-Sunday, 10:30, 1 and 3; an additional tour Friday and Saturday at 5, C&O Canal National Historical Park, The Foundry Mall, 1055 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Georgetown, "The Georgetown." Take a mule-drawn boatride on the C&O Canal. Adults $4; children and seniors $2. 472-4376.

RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL -- Saturday and Sunday, 10:30 to 6, Crownsville, Md. (take U.S. 50 east, then go north on Rte. 3, east on Rte. 450 to Crownsville Road, turn left for one mile to the festival site). Jugglers, jousters and magicians along with other 16th- century characters come alive in this salute to the Renaissance. Adults $7.50; seniors $6.50; 13 and under $3.50; five and under free. 261- 1970.

MOONSHINING DEMONSTRATION -- Saturday and Sunday, 11 to 5, Catoctin Mountain Park, Thurmont, Md. (take I-270 north to U.S. 15 north and then Rte. 77 west which leads into the park; park at visitors center). A park ranger gives a continuous whiskey-making demonstration at the actual site of the Blue Blazes Whiskey Still.301/663- 8687.

GEORGIA AVENUE DAY -- Saturday, 2 to dusk, Emory Park NW (between Missouri Avenue and Longfellow Street). Celebrate with the residents of Georgia Avenue; two rhythm-and-blues bands, dancers, comedians, food and more. 723-5166.