Washingtonians grounded by empty gas tanks this Fourth of July can attend parades, concerts, demonstrations and fireworks shows to help drive away their energy blues.
And while a few showers might fall on today's preliminary Independence Day activities, the National Weather Service forecasts a fine Fourth -- sunny and pleasant, with highs in the low 80s and no rain expected.
The Smithsonian Museum of History and Technology continues its third annual July 4th Celebration today with puppet shows, mime and juggling acts, and various crafts demontrations, ranging from scrimshaw and gunsmithing to puppet making and 18th-century printing techniques. Scheduled for today, tommorow and Wednesday, these events begin at noon and end at 6 p.m.
Activities slated for today at the museum include an American oratory program called "Stumps, Soapboxes and Speechifying" at Flag Hall; an organ grinder concert on the museum grounds; and roving barbershop quartets in the afternoon.
The museum's amphitheater will feature Mexican mariachi bands and Carribean steel orchestras in the late afternoon today, with Greek ethnic dancing on the East Grounds from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Information about the Smithsonian events is available at 381-6264.
Those so inclined can participate in a Fourth of July smoke-in, a gathering of marijuana smokers sponsored by the 4th of July Coalition to protest the nation's marijuana laws. The U.S. Park Police expect as many as 15,000 pot smokers at the event, which will be Tuesday and Wednesday at Franklin and Lafayette Parks. Smoke-in information is available at 387-7615.
Evangelist Billy Graham will join local religios leaders and the U.S. Army Band at the Capitol steps Wednesday for an Honor America Day celebration. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The Barbara Fritchie Motorcycle Race is scheduled for the afternoon of the Fourth at the Frederick Fairgrounds. Dating back to 1922, the country's oldest continously run professional motorcycle race will last from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. Area residents should take I-270 and get off on Route 85 going to Frederick. Admission will be $5. Call  663-9271 for more details.
The traditional Fourth of July fireworks display on the Mall begins at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday. While waiting for the fireworks to begin, spectators will be treated to theatrical and musical entertainment staged by the New York-based Marie Brooks Dance Research theatre, the Alive Singers, the U.S. Marine Band and the McCullough Kings Harmony Band.
Surburban residents who want to avoid the throngs in town can attend parades and festivities outside the District.
Fairfax County will hold its July 4th celebration at the Lee District Park at 6601 Telegraph Rd. in Alexandria. Such events as live rock and country and western bands, arts and crafts displays and fireworks will be offered Wednesday. The events begin at 10 a.m. and will continue until 11 p.m. Call the Park Authority at 941-5008 for more information.
Fairfax City's annual Fourth of July parade begins at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Massey Building parking lot. Vintage planes dating back to the 1920s and 1930s will fly over the parade route in the late morning, and a fireworks display at Fairfax High School stadium will round out the day at 9:15 p.m. 385-7855 Call for more information
Other surburban fireworks shows on July 4 will be at Allen Pond Park in Bowie at 7:30 p.m. [call 262-6200 for details]; the Takoma Park Junior High Community School at 9:30 p.m. [call 270-4048 for details]; and the Richard Montgomery High School stadium in Rockville at 9:15 p.m. [call 424-800 for details].
A concert by the National Symphony Orchestra will precede the Capitol fireworks show, beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The fireworks begin at 9:15 p.m.
A reminder to fuel-short Washingtonians: special Metrorail and Metrobus service will be free from 9 p.m. until midnight on the Fourth. CAPTION: Picture, Herald Schelke, 11, of Holland, munched watermelon yesterday outside the Museum of History and Technology, site of many 4th of July festivities. By James A. Parcell -- The Washington Post