When Washington businessman John Koskinen peers into his crystal (soccer) ball to 1994, he sees parades marching down Pennsylvania Avenue and cultural festivals spilling into the streets of Adams-Morgan.

He sees mariachi bands and flamenco dancers under spacious tents on the Mall and flags draped from every downtown lamp post. He sees gala balls and fancy embassy dinners, foot races and concerts, fashion shows and film festivals and food -- oh, lots of food -- from every corner of the world.

Did he mention the world's most popular sporting event, the World Cup soccer tournament, would be wedged into the city's busy schedule?

"My sense of it is it would be a shame to have this event come through here and just play the games," said Koskinen, chairman of World Cup Washington Region 1994, which is bidding to make the city one of the staging sites for the 24-nation, month-long event.

"All these people are going to be here. We may as well have a party. Whether anyone cares about seeing another soccer game, they're going to say that was a great event."

So in three weeks, when Koskinen formally announces the bid with D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon, Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer and possibly Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder at his side, the talk will be as much about business and organization as about the pursuit of bringing the Azzurri (Italy's Blues), the English and the defending-champion Germans, among many others, to RFK Stadium.

That means the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the Smithsonian's Crafts Show, Dance Africa DC, the Fourth of July celebration and many other regional affairs may have a World Cup theme.

Economic Research Associates of Los Angeles estimates five games over three weeks would bring $50 million to a staging area and about $4 million in state and local government revenues. Washington will bid for seven games.

"Anything we can do, we will," said Brian Tate, special events manager for the city's Committee to Promote Washington. "It's not so much a matter of generating new ideas; we already have very experienced events organizers here. It's basically plugging in with them and making their events part of the World Cup."

The timetable for site selection looks like this:

Bids from the 29 prospective cities are due by May 1. Oral presentations will be made in late May and an inspection tour by representatives of FIFA, soccer's world governing body, will be in September. The eight to 12 sites will be announced by FIFA no earlier than November.

Where does Washington stand? Barring drastic problems, the question seems to be not whether the city will be chosen as a site, but how many games and which ones Washington will receive.

Officials for the World Cup '94 Organizing Committee, which moved from K Street to a more spacious location near Dulles Airport last week, won't indicate what cities are at the top of their list, but Washington, Miami, Dallas, Chicago, Los Angeles and the New York and San Francisco areas appear to be leading candidates.

That leaves 22 cities such as Portland, Ore., which is interested only in first-round games, bidding for no more than five remaining spots.

The biggest prize is the championship game, with Miami's Joe Robbie Stadium and the Los Angeles Coliseum and Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., the most likely sites. RFK Stadium is an ideal soccer facility, but its small size (56,000-seat capacity) virtually kills Washington's chances, unless, of course, Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke builds a new stadium.

If Cooke indicates his plans before May 1, Koskinen says he will modify the bid to include the final. And considering 12 of the 14 Cup championships have been decided in the host country's capital city, it is believed if Cooke builds it, the final will come here.

For now, the Washington group will bid for the opening game, three other first-round matches and one game each in the second round, quarterfinals and semifinals.

But outside of hosting the world's soccer powers, Koskinen wants to have a seven-month party, from January to July. He attended last summer's World Cup in Italy and was surprised the quadrennial tournament, with all its pomp and passion, wasn't treated more like a multicultural festival. This will be different, he says.

"The consensus in Italy {among the U.S. organizers} was the other guys may be able to play soccer better," Koskinen said, "but we're going to be able to organize this thing in a way to put on a party, an event the Europeans won't have seen before."

Organization has been a problem if only because the city does not have a sports authority, as do Philadelphia and other contenders. Another obstacle has been trying to generate interest (i.e., sponsorship money) in the business community, which has seen better days.

The $159,650 needed to accompany the bid has been pledged, but the group is disappointed there hasn't been more corporate interest. If a bid is submitted for the final, an additional $103,000 will be needed.

But other parts of the region have shown interest: Maryland has pledged $30,000 and wants to host the FIFA Congress, whose meetings will take place the week before the games begin. Richmond will give $20,000 and wants to be a training site for teams taking part in one of the Washington-designated games. Washington and Lee (Lexington, Va.) University and Bethany (W.Va.) and Mary Washington (Fredricksburg, Va.) colleges also are interested in training sites.

"What we're trying to sell to people is not soccer," Koskinen said. "We will sell out the games. In this city, that won't be a problem. This is a big event and Americans love big events. I see it as an opportunity over a period of time for people to have a lot of fun."