The annual U.S. Independence Day picnic, a half-century tradition, this year will not be held at the Cervecería Costa Rica national brewery grounds in Alajuela, northwest of the capital. With the event’s organizer, the American Colony Committee, taking a year off to re-engineer the celebration, Avenida Escazú, the upscale development just off the freeway in the western San José suburb of Escazú, has stepped forward to serve as host in the interim year.
“The American Colony Committee (ACC) decided it was necessary to take time off to rethink or re-engineer the picnic after 50 years of organizing the Fourth of July celebration,” said Lynda Solar, the committee’s new president.
“The folks at Avenida Escazú approached the ACC when they heard we wouldn’t be holding our traditional event at the Cervecería,” Solar added. “They wanted to do a Fourth of July event including fireworks, and they wanted to involve the ACC. It’s a collaboration, and one that we view as a win-win.”
Last July, the American Colony Committee celebrated its 50th year hosting U.S. Independence Day celebrations in Costa Rica. Due to the high cost of the event and the fact that contributions and gate entrance weren’t enough to cover expenses, organizers decided that a year’s hiatus would help them restructure the event for a more sustainable future.
The change in location will not detract from the festivities, however. The benefits of this year’s venue are that festivities won’t be crammed into the pre-rain hours of 8 a.m. to noon; that anyone will be allowed to participate (in previous years, admission was limited to passport-carrying U.S. citizens and their immediate families); and that event organizers are planning for a feature that has long been missed in past Fourths of July in Costa Rica – fireworks.
“The event will be different in some ways, but it basically maintains all the ingredients of our traditional July Fourth celebration,” Solar said. “There will be a parade down the avenue led by Uncle Sam, a clown, a magician, a playground, the traditional square dance performance, antique cars, a rock band, the University of Costa Rica band, the Western Kentucky University Wind Ensemble … and the traditional flag-raising ceremony with the Marines.”
Avenida Escazú Marketing Director Andrea Broutin said the development is pleased to step forward as host. “We want to do what we can to promote important cultural events,” she told The Tico Times.
The celebration is set to take place Monday, July 4, from 3 to 8 p.m. Most of the area where the festivities will be held will be under tents in case of rain, and there will be plenty of free parking.
Event organizers are expecting between 3,000 and 4,000 attendees. Admission will be free. Beer, hot dogs and popcorn will be available for purchase.
And for those who think a new location just won’t be the same, Solar assured The Tico Times the move is not permanent.
“The goal is to return to the Cervecería next year with an even better event,” she said.
Announce Your July 4th Event
The Tico Times invites organizers of U.S. Independence Day celebrations around the country to send us event information for publication in our Calendar. Email details to Weekend Editor Meg Yamamoto at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Look for the Fourth of July event program in the July 1 issue of The Tico Times.