the glutton to the gourmet -- at a block party at Eastern Market yesterday, called "Market Day" by sponsoring Friendship House, a community services organization on Capitol Hill.

Thousands of visitors strolled Seventh Street SE, from Pennsylvania to North Carolina avenues, nibbling on such foods as bean sprouts and vegetables in pita bread, beef shish kebab, egg rolls, barbecue ribs, foul (Egyptian beans) and burritos.

Smoke from barbecue grills, mixed with the aroma of Mediterranean spices, wafted in the sultry air. Many people sat on curbs to watch the crowd and the dancers, eyed the wares of dozens of vendors lining the block, or listened to bands.

The 22nd annual fund-raiser was held outside the market, which is closed on Sundays. The event is held "to create a community spirit and make people aware of Friendship House so they will continue to support it," said Joyce Young, a board member.

Friendship House, at 619 D St. SE, is an 80-year-old community organization that operates two day-care programs and provides such services as meals for elderly shut-ins and an emergency clothing program for the needy, Young said.

From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., vendors offered an array of items, including handcrafted gold jewelry, silk floral arrangements, Art Deco pottery, Jamaican wood sculptures and antique furniture. A flea market indoors offered second-hand clothes and books.

Children waited anxiously for helium-filled balloons, volleyed for a try at a dart game and laughed at clowns who roamed the area. Some adults visited the tables of two "spiritual advisers," paying $5 for a palm reading or $10 for a reading with tarot cards.