Folk music played, ships and boats beckoned, but Diana Jones and her 3-year-old son, Jon, and husband, Bob, were happy just to be sitting on a grassy bank and watching the Potomac River run by.

"This is so much more relaxing," said Jones, as her family took a break yesterday during the third and final day of Alexandria's Ninth Annual Red Cross Waterfront Festival.

"We came here mainly because it was an excuse to be by the river," said Jones, 31.

Up and down the Potomac, area residents found the river a perfect place to be on a breezy day when temperatures climbed no higher than 82 degrees and the humidity ranged from 50 to 60 percent.

The day was a pleasant change from Saturday's steamy heat and the early evening thunderstorm that followed.

The storm brought hail, high winds and some flooding to the region and caused about 80,000 homes in the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia to lose power.

By yesterday afternoon, Virginia Power officials said 400 customers throughout Northern Virginia still were without electricity, down from about 20,000 initially.

Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. reported about 1,500 customers, most in northern Anne Arundel County or in Bowie in Prince George's, still without power last night. Since storms began rumbling in Saturday night, about 35,000 BG&E customers had lost electricity.

In Bowie last night, Tulip Road resident Parker King said he and his neighbors were still without electricity more than 24 hours after the storm. "It's a terrible inconvenience," said King, who had just returned from buying candles at the store. "I had to throw out the frozen dinners and frozen steaks from the freezer."

King said his block is serviced by BG&E and that workers told him they were encountering unexpected difficulties in restoring power to the area. The Bowie resident said storms have interrupted electrical service in the past but never longer than 90 minutes.

Only a few hundred of the 25,000 Potomac Electric Power Co. customers who lost power Saturday remained without electricity yesterday, an official said.

In Falls Church, lightning struck a home at 2911 Lawrence Dr., starting a fire on the second floor and causing about $85,000 damage, Fairfax County fire officials said.

Cheryl and Hazel Herring, who were in the home, noticed the fire shortly after 9 p.m., about a half-hour after the storm passed through. They were not hurt. The two-hour storm dumped as much as 3.35 inches of rain on the area and marked the 16th consecutive weekend since February that rain has fallen here, according to the National Weather Service.

About the only reminder of the storm yesterday was the muddy color of the Potomac River. That didn't bother Cindy Simpson, 24, and a friend as they lay on a large blue blanket spread out near the river's edge by the Kennedy Center.

"We love to come here and watch the people and get a tan," said Simpson, of Silver Spring. "We ride our bikes out here a couple times a month."

Just up the river, in Georgetown, residents sampling ice cream and frozen yogurt at a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society strolled to the concrete barriers at the edge of Washington Harbour Park and gazed at the water.

For many, getting close to the river meant first finding a parking space, and there were few to be had. At Great Falls Park, for example, park rangers restricted entry most of the afternoon to accommodate the day's 3,000 visitors.

About 100,000 people attended the Alexandria waterfront festival over the weekend, one of two big events in Northern Virginia. The other, the Fairfax Fair, drew especially large crowds Friday and Sunday, according to organizers, but no head count was available.