Non-U.S. friends will be welcome at July 4 picnic

U.S citizens who attend the July 4 bash at the beer company grounds will be able to bring a non-U.S. friend.

A member of the American Colony Committee board of directors confirmed this Wednesday. The committee sponsors the picnic.

A.M. Costa Rica reported May 3 that the picnic once again will be held at the Cervercería Costa Rica picnic grounds west of San José.

The decision by the committee to admit non-U.S. citizens is a major change from past years. Until now those who attended had to be U.S. citizens with passports or be close relatives of citizens.
Naturally, some expats were irked by this rule, and some U.S. citizens did not attend because they thought that their boy or girl friend or non-U.S. business associate would be denied entry.

Expat workers at the gate were much more flexible than the written rules, but the bar to non-U.S. citizens generated some ill will over the years.

The members of the committee had argued that the picnic would be flooded by persons simply seeking free beer and hot dogs.

Now there is a small entry fee, and the requirement that a non-U.S. citizen be accompanied by an American is expected to keep that from happening. Much of the food and drink is donated.

The time this year is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Last year the committee joined with Avenida Escazú, the shopping center, to hold the event in the afternoon. But heavy rains dampened the event and cut attendance.

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 service clubs, the U.S. Embassy and veteran groups set up informational booths for visitors.

The committee Web site is about to be updated with information for this year. The committee also is seeking donations from expats, local businesses and others to help support the event.

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