The Week of Aug. 27

Livestock and horse shows, pig races, thoroughbred horse racing, exhibits, food, and midway rides and games are all part of the 123rd annual Maryland State Fair Aug. 27-Sept. 6 at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium. Call 410-252-0200. {diam} The 28th annual Maryland Renaissance Festival, with entertainment on multiple stages, living history portrayals, crafts sales and food vendors, opens Aug. 28 and continues through Oct. 24 in Crownsville. Call 800-296-7304 or 410-266-7304. {diam} Sandy Duncan stars in a new production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic "The King and I" from Aug. 31 through Sept. 5 at Wolf Trap Park. Tickets are $34 to $60 in-house, $18 on the lawn, from Tickets.com. To order, call 703-218-6500 (service charges added); for information, call 703-255-1860.

The Week of Sept. 3

Summer comes to an unofficial end Sept. 5 when the National Symphony Orchestra stages its annual free Labor Day pops concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Call 202-619-7222 or 202-467-4600.

The Week of Sept. 10

World-class riders and their steeds compete in the 17th annual Columbia Classic Grand Prix Sept. 11 at Howard Community College in Columbia. Call 410-772-4450. {diam}Academy Award winner F. Murray Abraham stars in a staged reading of "Nathan the Wise," Theater of the First Amendment's portrait of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities residing together in Jerusalem under Saladin's rule during the Crusades, Sept. 11 at George Mason University's Center of the Arts. Tickets cost $25 from Tickets.com. To order, call 703-218-6500; for information, call 703-993-8888. {diam}More than 150 artists and artisans show their sculptures, paintings, photography and other works at the Alexandria Festival of the Arts, Sept. 11-12 along King Street in Old Town. Call 703-838-4200. {diam} The National Council of Negro Women hosts the 19th annual Black Family Reunion, the annual cultural celebration of the African American family, Sept. 11-12 on the Mall, with live entertainment, exhibits, an arts and crafts marketplace and food vendors. Call 202-737-0120. {diam} The Kennedy Center celebrates the arts at its annual Open House Sept. 12, with free concerts and other entertainment on multiple indoor and outdoor stages. Call 202-467-4600 (TDD: 202-416-8524). {diam} The Montreal-based theatrical circus company Cirque du Soleil stages its latest touring extravaganza, "Varekai," from Sept. 16 through Oct. 24 in its blue and gold tent at a new location this year: the grounds of RFK Stadium. Tickets cost $55 to $75, with student and senior discounts, from Admission Network; call 800-678-5440.


Tickets go on sale Saturday from Ticketmaster for these upcoming concerts: starting at 10, Morrissey, appearing Sept. 29 at DAR Constitution Hall ($40.75 and $55.75); also at 10, Brooks & Dunn, Montgomery Gentry and Gretchen Wilson, appearing Oct. 17 at Nissan Pavilion ($33.25, $48.25 and $56.25 in-house, $23.25 on the lawn); starting at noon, Bruce Hornsby, Oct. 17 at Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre ($32 and $42). Call 202-397-7328 or 800-551-7328 (service charges added). {diam} Tickets are on sale now from Tickets.com for these upcoming 9:30 club shows: Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Sept. 18 ($25); Drive By Truckers and Allison Moorer, Sept. 24 ($15); and Tragically Hip, Sept. 25 ($25). Call 703-218-6500 (service charges added).



On stage soon, on sale now: Patrick Page and Kelly McGillis star as the once-noble Thane of Glamis and his grasping wife in "Macbeth," from Aug. 31 through Oct. 24 at the Shakespeare Theatre. Tickets cost $12.75 to $68; call 202-547-1122 (TDD: 202-638-3863).


"Floral Perspectives in Carpet Design," with examples from 17th- to 19th-century Chinese, Central Asian, Persian and Turkish carpets from the museum's collections, opens Aug. 27 at the Textile Museum and continues through Feb. 6. Call 202-667-0441.


Opening Aug. 27: Scientists traveling to Borneo in search of a plant that may hold the secret to human longevity encounter nasty snakes that have the opposite effect in "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid." {diam} "Hero," a Chinese action film that broke box office records in its country, stars Jet Li as a soldier bent on revenge. {diam} An FBI agent (Aaron Eckhart) pursues a murder suspect (Ben Kingsley) in "Suspect Zero," a mind-bending thriller from director E. Elias "Shadow of the Vampire" Merhige. {diam} Rhys Ifans plays the titular hero in "Danny Deckchair," a romantic comedy about an Aussie truck driver who discovers a new lease on life when he flies away from his dreary home town in a deck chair tethered to helium balloons. {diam} "Zhou Yu's Train" stars Gong Li as a Chinese factory worker who maintains relationships with both her writer boyfriend and the doctor she meets on a train. {diam} Teenagers encounter drama in the riverboat-set "Mean Creek."

{diam} Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the multiplex, the sequel "Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2" continues the 1999 saga of hyper-intelligent infant crime-fighters. {diam} Outspoken gay Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is profiled in the documentary "Let's Get Frank." Opening dates may change.


Closing on stage this weekend: "The Producers," in the Kennedy Center Opera House. Call 202-467-4600 (TDD: 202-416-8524). {diam} This weekend is your last chance to visit "The Recollections of a Baltimore Artist: Sketches by Alfred Jacob Miller," at Baltimore's Walters Art Museum (410-547-9000).


It can be challenging, but the volunteers who do it say the rewards of coaching youth league sports teams make it worthwhile. Find out what it's like, and how to get started, in Weekend.


To check out Weekend online, go to www.washingtonpost.com/weekend.

Rhys Ifans plays an Aussie truck driver who takes to the skies his way in the comedy "Danny Deckchair," opening Aug. 27. A fragment from a 17th-century Mughal carpet will be displayed in "Floral Perspectives in Carpet Design," opening Aug. 27.