On All-Star Weekend, MLS Partyers Kick It Up a Notch

What?! A professional sports party with no groupies, no bling-bling, no huge egos? Not at the Major League Soccer All-Star event Friday night, where the center of attention was -- gasp! -- soccer.

Eighty of the sport's greatest stars mingled with 200 guests at the hip club H2O on Washington's waterfront. The players, many flanked by wives and kids, created a very laid-back atmosphere at what could have been a glitzy bash before the MLS All-Star Game Saturday at RFK Stadium.

The only star moment of the night happened early on, when 15-year-old phenom Freddy Adu dropped in for a quick meet-and-greet with sponsors and a few lucky fans. Fourteen-year-old Jimmy Bowers of Harrisburg, Pa., had his brush with fame: "I won a 'fantasy soccer' contest against 10,000 people from around the world. I really wanted to meet Freddy Adu."

The rest of the party was more like a family reunion, which is both professional soccer's great charm and curse. Except for die-hard fans, the weekend's events garnered little public attention.

"It's not a big game, it's a little game," said all-star goalie Henry Ring of the Chicago Fire as he tipped back a bottle of Bud. "It's great because this is our break."

Amid three open bars and a carb-loaded buffet, younger players, including D.C. United's Jaime Moreno and the San Jose Earthquakes' Landon Donovan, mixed with soccer veterans like Eric Wynalda and Alexi Lalas. The older footballers were in town for the MLS Legends game preceding the All-Star showdown.

"I need to run tomorrow," said Legends defender Marcelo Balboa with a laugh as he parked himself at a table with his fellow pro soccer alums. "It's been a while, so I've got to rest my legs."

Soccer's cool quotient may not be high, but it's trying.

"I am the host with the most," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "My kids read about H2O in Us Weekly, so now they think soccer is hip and cool."

Behind the Seams at the DAR Museum

A small group of history buffs gathered Saturday at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum to celebrate a few forgotten heroines -- African American dressmakers and designers. Rosemary Reed Miller, owner of Toast & Strawberries boutique and author of "Threads of Time: The Fabric of History," profiled 22 women from 1850 to the present who helped shape and tailor American fashion. Among them were Elizabeth Keckley, who worked for Mary Todd Lincoln, and Anne Cole Lowe, the unheralded society designer who created the famous 1953 wedding gown for Jacqueline Bouvier.

"It was the most photographed wedding dress in American history," said Miller, who noted that Lowe's role was barely acknowledged.

That dress is on display at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, but after the lecture guests were able to view other gowns at the DAR's current exhibition, "Something Old, Something New: Inventing the American Wedding."

(River) Bank Holiday

"You get two different types of people in D.C.," said Matt Berris, managing director of the Potomac Conservancy. "Those who drive across the river every day and those who go in it."

Those who go in it gathered Saturday afternoon on dry land for the fifth annual Potomac Conservancy Member Appreciation Picnic at Carderock Pavilion near Cabin John. Kayakers, fishermen, boaters and all other manner of river enthusiasts grilled up burgers, boogied to bluegrass, recruited new members, but stuck nary a toe into the water itself.

"We kayak and pick up trash every time," said new member Becky Choi. "Now that we joined we can just pick up more of it."

With Laura Thomas