July 4 U.S. expat picnic returning to Cervercería site

The American Colony Committee is returning to the Cervercería Costa Rica picnic grounds for the July 4 bash this year.

The committee also is returning to the tradition of a morning event, although the time this year will be a bit later, from 9 a.m. to 1p.m.

The committee joined with Avenida Escazú last year for a July 4 celebration at the shopping strip, but Mother nature soaked the proceedings to such an extent that traffic was snarled all over the Central Valley and many would-be attendees just could not make the festivities.

The committee described the change in a letter to potential donors. Last year Avenida Escazú picked up the tab, but this year the committee again has to raise funds. As the letter pointed out, the committee receives no U.S. government funding. The letter did not say if the committee would revert to the policy of charging a fee for those who come to enjoy the festivities. In the past a fee of 2,500 colons (about $5) was assessed for adults who attended the Cervercería celebration.

The picnic has grown over more than 50 years from a U.S. expat gathering at the home of the U.S. ambassador, to the present event that draws thousands. This picnic will be the 52nd organized by the committee, it said.

The picnic was designed to provide the children of U.S. expats with a real July 4 celebration. Children still are a priority with games and rides in previous years. The Cervercería grounds west of San José contains a large field for all types of games. Usually services clubs, the U.S. Embassy and veteran groups set up informational booths for visitors.

The event has been restricted to U.S. citizens and close family members.  That has drawn some criticism, but committee spokespersons reply that the food, soft drinks and beer would be exhausted quickly if the general public were invited. This year the committee says that U.S. citizens, their families and their Tico friends can celebrate the 236th year of independence of the United States.

The committee has a Web site where additional information will be published. For now, it includes photos and descriptions of previous July 4 events and a brief history.

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