San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

2011 Queen's Birthday Party will be ‘Right Royal Celebration’

There’s romance aplenty in Britain’s sovereign circles this year with two royal weddings in the offing. Second in line to the throne, Prince William, is to marry girlfriend Kate Middleton, and Princess Anne’s daughter, Zara, will wed her rugby-playing beau, Mike Tindall. What better way to bring some celebration into the calendar than use this as the theme for the annual Queen’s Birthday Garden Party in Costa Rica?

Since the first garden party in 2002, the QBP, as it’s become known, has raised more than $150,000 to support disadvantaged schools in Costa Rica. It also helped rebuild the Vara Blanca kindergarten, which was destroyed by the 2009 earthquake near Poás Volcano, northwest of the capital.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary on April 2, the QBP is a not-to-miss family day with a dazzling array of staged events, such as music and dancing, games for every age and a wide selection of British-themed food and drink. British Ambassador Tom Kennedy and wife Clare open up their spacious residence grounds in the western San José suburb of Escazú to families and friends of all nationalities.

Try a Pimm’s or Boddingtons Bitter at The Queen’s Head pub, scones and jam at the Queen of Hearts tea tent, and fish and chips or bangers and mash in the Banqueting Hall. Young wannabe lords and ladies can be knighted by a “regal personality” with a take-home photo to prove it, and a court jester will be painting funny faces for younger clients.

The British Goods stall will satisfy the cravings of any expat Brit or Anglophile needing to stock up on Marmite, Branston Pickle, lemon barley water and mint sauce, with homemade jams and chutneys on sale nearby.

Generous sponsorship is a major factor to ensuring the success of the QBP, with cash donations and prizes for the silent auction and two grand raffles. Dress up in your shiny tiara and aristocratic regalia and you could win a prize for best costume.

The 2011 QBP, “A Right Royal Celebration – Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses,” will take place April 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the British Embassy Residence in Escazú’s Los Laureles. Tickets cost ₡2,500 ($5) for adults and ₡1,000 ($2) for children under 12 (free for kids under 5). Ample secure parking is available. For information, call 2258-2025.

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