With America's birthday party a thing of the past for another year, it's time this weekend for down-home folks of the District of Columbia to celebrate themselves and everything else that's good about this city. And since anyone who has been here for more than four hours can claim at least temporary kinship, everyone is invited to this large open house of local entertainment, exhibits and activities today and tomorrow in the convention center. The occasion is the "Capital City Community Festival," a giant air- conditioned block party that promises good food from every corner of the city. It's Washington's answer to a county fair, and we recommend it because it has helped to show that the District of Columbia is more than just a working space for the federal government.

One popular activity has been going on for six years now and qualifies as a local tradition. It's the "Taste of the Town," a sort of municipal smorgasbord at which area restaurants serve samples from their menus as a benefit for Children's Hospital and Second Genesis. This is the only event for which there is an admission charge.

The opening ceremonies yesterday featured winning art by scores of public schoolchildren. Other activities include appearances by members of the Bullets and Capitals teams, drawings for prizes and more than 100 -- count 'em -- exhibition booths. The big hall has been decorated to represent several neighborhoods, and artists, musicians and crafts people from these communities will be on hand.

If the past celebrations are any indication, Washingtonians will not only have a lot of plain old fun at this event. They will also enjoy an opportunity to show off the best of their town.