Getting Into Green

Come St. Patrick's Day, everyone's a wee bit Irish. And this weekend there are plenty of ways to prove it.

X Take the high road Sunday at the 15th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade from 1 to 3:30. House Speaker Tip O'Neill serves as grand marshal of the parade, which includes floats, pipers, clowns and Welsh ponies on the go from Constitution Avenue and Seventh Street NW to the Ellipse. One of the best vantage points is the National Archives steps. By Metrorail, exit from the following stations: Smithsonian, Federal Triangle and Farragut West on the Orange/Blue lines; National Archives on the Yellow Line; L'Enfant Plaza on the Yellow/Orange/Blue lines. 424-2200.

*Stealing a march on D.C., the Ballyshaners of Alexandria host their Fifth Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturday from noon to 1:30. The parade features floats, Irish bands, dancers and dignitaries. It begins near the King Street Metro stop and winds up 14 blocks later at Fairfax and King streets in Old Town. At 11, Irish wolfhounds and other breeds of Irish dogs will have a parade of their own at Market Square. By Metrorail, exit from the King Street station on the Yellow Line. 549-7268.

*The Old Post Office Pavilion, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, gears up in green for three days of free entertainment, including traditional Irish dancing and folk music. The festivities are Saturday from 2 to 6; Sunday, noon to 5:30; Monday, noon to 1 and 6 to 6:30. 289-4224.

*The streets of Dublin may be an ocean away, but you can still hit the bricks at The Third Annual St. Patrick's Day Rally in the Alley, a two-day outdoor event with loads of food, Irish dancers, bagpipers, bands, top 40 music and dancing in the alley between 18th and 19th streets and L and M streets NW. There'll even be a raffle for Redskins tickets; proceeds go to Martha's Table, a group providing help to the homeless. 296-4448.

*There's a four-day Festival of St. Patrick at Paul VI Institute, 924 G Street NW. The free festival includes ceili dancers, Irish art, music, film and crafts. Hours are Friday through Monday, 11 to 5. 347-1450.

*If you're cruisin' for a bruisin', you can check out The Fifth Annual Washington Irish St. Patrick's Day Rugby Tournament at West Potomac Park, Ohio Drive and West Basin Drive. Thirty-two teams from the East Coast go at it Saturday from 10 to 4 and Sunday from 10 to 3. Spectating is free. The action is more relaxed Saturday evening at O'Connell's, Fourth and E streets SW, where the ruggers become chuggers at the St. Patrick's Day Rugby Party from 7 to 2 Saturday night. Cover charge is $5. For both events, call 941-5617. Cinema Sensations

The American Film Institute hosts two film programs beginning this weekend.

The Embassy of Canada co-sponsors Canada's Ten Best Films, as chosen by international critics for the 1985 Toronto Festival of Festivals. Saturday at 6:30 you can see Richard Dreyfuss in "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz" and Sunday at 6:15 it's "J.A. Martin, Photographe." "Mon Oncle Antoine," rated the best Canadian film ever made, shows April 11, the final day of the series. $4; $3 for AFI members.

X Footroots: How Dances of the People Influence Dances of the Stage, a free program on dance films, co-sponsored by Dance Arts Moving Arts, runs each Sunday (except Easter Sunday) through April 27. This Sunday at 4 you can take a look at some of the best and worst examples of dance on film in "A Primer for Looking at Dance on Film and Video." In subsequent programs, critics, authors and anthropologists examine the influence of folk customs, the origin of tap dancing, and ballet's debt to the folk tradition.

Both programs are at the AFI Theater in the Kennedy Center. For details, call 785- 4601. Music of the Body

Boston computer artist Christopher Janney visits Washington for Inside Rhythms, a program that creates music from bodily motion by using sensing devices attached to synthesizers. The free concerts are in the Theater Lab of the Kennedy Center. Shows are Saturday at 8, Sunday at 3. Limited seating is available on a first-come basis. 254-5552.

Janney (with your help) will also play "Soundstair," an instrument that creates music when people walk up the stairs. It's free, on Friday from 10 to 4 outside the steps of the Old Post Office, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW. 289-4224. Voila! Violas

Violas don't top the bill that often. But this weekend you can hear the instrument in two area concerts.

X Israeli violist Rivka Golani performs works by Shostakovich, Mozart, Schubert and Schumann at the Kennedy Center. She'll be accompanied by pianist Samuel Sanders and clarinetist James Campbell. The concert is Saturday at 7:30 in the Terrace Theater; tickets are $13.50. 254-3600.

X The viola also appears in a free concert Sunday at 4 at the Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I Street NW. Area musicians David Basch (viola), Joseph Burstein (violin) and Brian Ganz (piano) perform works by Brahms, Schubert and Mozart. There'll be refreshments and a chance to talk with the artists after the concert. 331-7282. Having a Ball

You won't find the Harlem Globetrotters in the NCAA tournament, but you can see their annual antics in three area shows. In addition to the usual fun, Lynette Woodard, the first female Globetrotter, makes her Washington debut. The games are Friday and Saturday at 8 at the Patriot Center, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax; Sunday at 2 at the Capital Centre. Tickets range from $8 to $12. 432-0200. Bloom Country

Spring is in the air and at The Washington Flower and Garden Show this weekend. There'll be millions of flowers and acres of landscaped gardens, plus seed dealers and gardening experts with tips. The show is at the Washington Convention Center, Ninth and H streets NW on Friday and Saturday, 10 to 10; Sunday, 10 to 8. By Metrorail, exit from Metro Center, or Gallery Place on the Yellow Line. Admission is $6; $3 for children ages six to 12. 371-4200. Rest of the Best

IN TOWN

Japanese pianist Sayuri Iida plays a free concert of classical music by Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Chopin and Debussy. The concert is Friday at 8 in McDonald Recital Hall, Kreeger Music Building, American University. 775-0847.

IN MARYLAND The 22nd Annual Gem and Mineral Show is Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 6, at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, Gaithersburg. Admission is $2.50; children under 12 are free. 926-7374 or 926-7190.