San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

U.S. expats celebrate 4th of July in style


About the only thing missing from the U.S. Independence Day celebration in Costa Rica on Sunday were the fireworks.
Aside from the firecrackers and skyrockets that highlight most Fourth of July celebrations in the United States, the celebration had all the other ingredients to make the day feel like home, including hot dogs, popcorn, a children’s parade, classic cars and live music.
The fairgrounds of the Cervecería Costa Rica in Alajuela, northwest of San José, were packed with U.S. flags, children playing summertime games and family picnickers.
“It was better than ever,” said Susan Tessem, president of the American Colony Committee, who along with a team of volunteers put the event together. “It was the American spirit that made it so great.”
Tessem wasn’t the only one taken aback by the success of the day. As the partygoers climbed out of their cars and watched the stream of flag-carrying, red-white-and-blue-clad compatriots, many jaws dropped in surprise.
“I had no idea it was this big,” one woman said.
And this wasn’t just any Fourth of July celebration in Costa Rica. On the occasion of its 50th celebration of U.S. Independence Day in Costa Rica, the American Colony Committee broke from tradition and gained permission to host the event during the weekend. Typically, it has been held on a weekday because of the Cervecería’s in-demand weekend schedule.
“It made a great difference to have the celebration on a weekend,” Tessem said. “There were people here who hadn’t been to a July 4th in years.”
For those who didn’t make it to the event, Tessem had a message for next year: “Don’t miss out!”

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