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September 09, 2004|By Lori Sears

Alexandria Festival of the Arts

Visit downtown Alexandria this weekend for the Virginia city's annual Festival of the Arts. The event features works by more than 200 artists and craftspeople, including hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, ceramics, paintings, sculptures and photography. All works on display will be for sale, and visitors can talk with artists to learn more about how pieces were made. Items range in price from $15 for a pair of earrings to $20,000 for a decorative sculpture.

The Alexandria Festival of the Arts runs 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, outdoors along King Street in Alexandria, Va. Free admission. Call 703-838-5005 or visit www.artfestival.com.

`Jewish Life' exhibit at Library of Congress

Opening today at the Library of Congress' Northwest Gallery is From Haven to Home: A Library of Congress Exhibition Marking 350 Years of Jewish Life in America. The exhibit marks the 350th anniversary of the arrival of 23 Jews to New Amsterdam (now New York City), after fleeing Recife, Brazil.

The exhibit showcases more than 150 items of Jewish Americana from the museum's collection and on loan from the American Jewish Historical Society, the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives and the National Archives and Records Administration.

Items on display include letters written by Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and James Madison that were sent to prominent Jewish Americans, Colonial maps of New York and Newport, R.I., showing synagogue locations, Irving Berlin's handwritten tribute "God Bless America," an ode to his adopted home, and more.

The exhibit runs today through Dec. 18 in the Northwest Gallery of the Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, First Street and Independence Avenue S.E., Washington. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Free. Call 202-707-5000.

Shaker Forest Festival

Celebrate the Shaker way of life this weekend and next weekend at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg. The Shaker Forest Festival features craftspeople and artists dressed in Shaker-period attire demonstrating their skills and selling their wares. Visitors will find nesting boxes, woodcrafts, pottery, quilts, handmade toys, jewelry, mosaics and more for sale, as well as an array of traditional Shaker foods to purchase.

Live entertainment will include Bob Nickerson the Jock-ular Juggler, comedian Saskia Van Oot, accordionist Merv Conn, the "Wizard of Oz" troupe and more. Kids can enjoy pony rides, trips on the Shaker Steam Shuttle, a hop in the Buggy Bounce and more.

The festival runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Sept. 18, and 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at Seneca Creek State Park, 11950 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg. $7; free for ages 10 and under. Call 301-330-9144 or visit www.shakerforest.org.

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