Festivals for Families

* Music and dance ensembles representing China, India, Peru and South Korea will perform during the 34th annual International Children's Festival, sponsored by the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 4 at Wolf Trap Park, 1551 Trap Rd., Vienna. In addition, Animal Planet will host a live animal program, and there will hands-on crafts workshops and an Arts and Technology pavilion with interactive booths. Bob McGrath of "Sesame Street," Matt Gallant of "The Planet's Funniest Animals" and WTOP personality Bob Madigan are hosts. Tickets cost $10, seniors and ages 3 to 12 $8, younger free. For tickets, call Tickets.com, 703-218-6500 (service charges added); for information, call 703-642-0862, Ext. 7, or visit www.artsfairfax.org.

* Construct a cardboard city, thatch a roof, create sculptures from nuts and bolts, lay brick and help build a log cabin Saturday from 10 to 4:30 during the Festival of the Building Arts at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW (Metro: Judiciary Square). More than 30 bricklayers, carpenters, plumbers and other master craftspeople will share their secrets, and Kevin O'Connor and Norm Abram from "This Old House" will offer home improvement tips. Admission is free. Call 202-272-2448.

The Arts Are Afoot

The 12th annual Arts on Foot Festival brings music, films, art exhibits, cooking demonstrations, walking tours and other entertainment to sites throughout Washington's Penn Quarter neighborhood and all of downtown Saturday from 11 to 5. Local jazz musicians will perform on the Center Stage at Eighth and F streets NW, and along F Street between Seventh and Ninth streets more than 50 artists will sell their works and two dozen restaurants will offer samples of their specialties. The nearest Metro stations are Gallery Place-Chinatown, Archives-Navy Memorial and Metro Center. Call 202-482-7271 or 301-704-2587, or visit www.artsonfoot.org.

The Literary Life

* TV producer and writer David Simon, National Public Radio foreign correspondent Anne Garrels, 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum, and chefs Roland Mesnier and John Shields are among scores of authors who will talk about their books at the ninth annual Baltimore Book Festival Friday from 5 to 9 and Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 7 in tents in Baltimore's Mount Vernon Place neighborhood in the 600 block of North Charles Street. A Literary Salon will host discussions and readings; cookbook and home and garden authors will appear at the Lifestyle Stage; the Next Big Thing Stage will present first-time authors; and the Ripe Harvest Foundation Stage will focus on African American themes. The Crawdaddies, Mama Jama, the Kelly Bell Band, Linwood Taylor and others will entertain on the Music Stage. A Children's Bookstore Stage will host children's authors and storytellers, and more than 125 booksellers and exhibitors will display their wares. Admission is free. Call 877-225-8466 or visit www.baltimorebookfestival.com.

* More than 135 authors, writers and performers will appear during the Fall for the Book Festival from Saturday through Thursday at sites throughout the George Mason University campus, 4400 University Dr., Fairfax. Participants include novelists Joyce Carol Oates and Edward P. Jones, former NPR correspondent Bob Edwards, philosopher Cornel West and journalist Roger Wilkins. Festival activities Saturday include a Family Fair from 10:30 to 4, with a moon bounce, puppeteers and children's authors. Admission is free. Call 202-334-4740 or 703-993-3986, or visit fallforthebook.org.

* Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright Edward Albee ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," "A Delicate Balance," "Three Tall Women") reads from his works with actress Marian Seldes Friday at 8, opening the new season of PEN/Faulkner Readings at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. Tickets cost $15, seniors and students $12. Call

202-544-7077.

A Soprano's New Sounds

In a "cross-over" concert, star soprano Kathleen Battle sings Latin American jazz, folk songs, spirituals and other traditional music with a jazz quintet Monday at 8 in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall (Metro: Foggy Bottom-GWU, with free shuttles). Pianist Cyrus Chestnut, guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Rodney Whitaker, saxophonist Kirk Whalum and drummer Cyro Baptista will share the stage, kicking off the Washington Performing Arts Society's 39th season. Tickets cost $35 to $90. Call 202-467-4600.

Indian Museum Opens

The Smithsonian is opening its newest institution, the National Museum of the American Indian, with a six-day First Americans Festival on the Mall outside the museum, at Fourth Street and Independence Avenue SW. More than 300 participants from some 50 tribes will present entertainment on six stages, crafts demonstrations and sales, and a food court with caribou, buffalo, corn, beans and other traditional foods. An opening ceremony begins Tuesday at noon after a Native Nations Procession starting at 9:30 a.m. The festival begins Tuesday at 1 and continues daily from 10 to 5:30 through Sept. 26. Tuesday at 5:30, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Lila Downs, Rita Coolidge and Indigenous will perform. During opening week, the museum will remain open from 1 p.m. Tuesday continuously through 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday from 9 to 5:30, Sept. 24 from 9 to 9, and Sept. 25-26 from 9 to 5:30. Starting Sept. 27, regular hours will be 10 to 5:30 daily. Admission to the festival and the museum are free; timed-entry passes are required for the museum. Call 202-633-1000 (TDD: 202-357-1729), or visit www.americanindian.si.edu. See story on

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A Picture of the Big Apple

The Big Apple Circus is pitching its little big top at Dulles Town Center, at Route 7 and Route 28 in Dulles, for its 27th anniversary production. Opening Thursday at 7, "Picturesque" was inspired by circus scenes painted by Renoir, Degas, Chagall and Picasso, and stars an international cast of acrobats, trapeze artists, jugglers, horses and clowns, including the ever-cheerful and often-confused Grandma (Barry Lubin). Shows continue through Oct. 11. Tickets cost $15 to $44. To order, call Ticketmaster, 202-397-7328 (service charges added); for information, call 800-922-3772.

-- Compiled by Barry Barriere

Dancers from around the world are a highlight of the annual International Children's Festival at

Wolf Trap Park.Hand balancer Mei Ling is a star of "Picturesque," the 27th annual production by the Big Apple Circus.