In Arlington, They Keep On Licking

Sometimes the simplest parties are the sweetest. To wit: the Ice Cream Social on Friday night at the Arlington home of William "Grady" Malone and his wife, Marion. More than 200 friends from near and far paid $4 each for a choice of vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, peach, rainbow and butter pecan ice cream (plus homemade cakes, cookies, cobblers and lemonade).

For 28 years, the Malones have hosted the community fund-raiser in their back yard. He's 84, she's 83, and the World War II sweethearts have been fixtures in the neighborhood since 1953. This year's gathering raised $800 for the local chapter of the Pilot Club--a service organization--and will likely pay for bike helmets for local kids.

"It's great--it's hometown America," said Jack Zetkulic, holding 2-year-old Matthew and 1-year-old Katie. Zetkulic, director of the Kosovo Task Force for the State Department, just returned from Yugoslavia and moved into the neighborhood this week. "It's nice to be home."

Old and young lined up for more than two hours. Grady Malone spent most of the night fetching spoons and tubs of ice cream, and greeting everyone like long-lost friends. "It's not hard work," he said, finally sitting down with his own bowl of ice cream after dark. "I think it's more fun to just visit."

Working the Crowd at Wolf Trap

It was "Gershwin, Broadway and Beyond" at Wolf Trap's 28th annual gala Saturday night. Pianist Michael Feinstein provided the Gershwin, a very pregnant Linda Eder sang Broadway tunes and gala co-chairs Bob and Susan Koehler, above, brought Northern Virginia's beyond-the-Beltway bankers and high-tech and aerospace business elite to the famed lawn. Lt. Gov. John Hager greeted the 800 guests, but the real buzz centered around former governor George Allen, who was busy making new friends for his Senate bid next year. "There are a few folks saying they'd like to do fund-raisers, I must say," he said. "It's very encouraging."

What's Cooking in New Jersey?

The state was New Jersey, the subject tomatoes--and no, we're not talking about Sen. Bob Torricelli's latest blonde. The vegetables and shore dinners of the Garden State were honored Thursday night at the National Arboretum's annual fund-raiser. More than 750 people, including Gov. Christine Todd Whitman and Torricelli, right, and Bill and Lynda Webster, above, enjoyed steamed lobsters and shared horticulture tips. "I do good tomatoes," Whitman said. "Corn has been elusive. Potatoes, however, are a cinch."

CAPTION: Savannah Powers, right, savors creamy scoops at Friday's Ice Cream Social to benefit the Pilot Club. Kanah Bray looks on as host Grady Malone holds forth, above; and other neighbors and friends relax over dessert.