Another July Fourth bash planned for this year

The American Colony Committee Plans another Fourth of July picnic this year. That the event would be held has been known for some months, but the committee has started updating its Web page with current information intermixed with details from previous years.

The private organization also is seeking donations.

As it has been the tradition, the picnic will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, July 4, in the Cervercería Costa Rica picnic grounds west of San José on the General Cañas autopista.

“The festivities include a wide variety of food and drinks including the ever-popular traditional hot dogs, great entertainers, games and other fun activities for all ages,” the committee said. “Beyond the food and fun, the picnic also provides an opportunity to learn about many nonprofit organizations here in Costa Rica. Most importantly, you will participate in a quintessentially American tradition: the celebration of the Independence Day of the United States, complete with a special Flag Ceremony featuring members of the United States Marine Corps.”

The  committee estimates that as many as 5,000 persons attended in past years. The early start and early afternoon finish is to defeat the likely rainy season storms.

Because the date falls on a Friday this year, serious drinkers will have the chance to adjourn in the afternoon to commercial establishments that also will be celebrating Independence Day. And the event also will kick off a weekend of Independence Day parties.

However, the serious drinkers should take public transportation or have a designated driver. The traffic police have targeted those  leaving the picnic in the past because of the tradition of free beer for those who pay the admission. There are public bus stops within walking distance.

The committee also said that it is continuing the tradition of encouraging U.S. citizens to bring a Costa Rican friend to the picnic to share in the experience of a good old fashioned 4th of July celebration. For years, the picnic was restricted to U.S. citizens and family members. And for many years it was free. But more recently the committee has been charging a 5,000-colon admission for adults.

The goal of the picnic is to transport a bit of July Fourth celebration to Costa Rica, mainly for the benefit of expat children. More than 50 years ago when the U.S. Embassy staff began hosting a picnic on the grounds of the ambassadorial residence, there was a lot less contact with the United States. U.S. expats were few, and the Internet did not exist.

Expats founded the American Colony Committee and took over the picnic in the early 1960s, and the affair has been private since.

More details are available on the committee Web site.

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