San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Diamond Jubilee Picnic

The morning dawned bright and sunny for the British Community’s Diamond Jubilee Picnic, celebring the 60th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II to the throne of Great Britain.

This very special event was organized by The British Charity Committee, who for the past 10 years has spearheaded the celebration. As usual, the event raised money for Costa Rican schools in need.

But instead of a garden party held in April (as has been the custom in previous years), this Jubilee Picnic took place on Sunday, June 17, at the Zamora Estate, an oasis of natural beauty in Santa Ana, west of San José. The charming Ramón Zamora, his wife, Ana (the chef), and their family and staff made us feel welcome.

It was a much smaller event than in previous years, with a limit of 350 tickets sold in advance at ₡10,000 ($20) that included the Zamora Estate’s buffet lunch with typical bangers (sausages) and mash, chicken, sausage rolls, quiche and a delicious selection of chips and dips such as hummus, guacamole and spicy tuna. For dessert there were strawberries and cream, plus fairy cakes, known as cupcakes by our North American friends.  

The English pub-style bar was selling all the old favorites; Pimms No.1, Boddington’s best bitter, Guinness, Strongbow cider and Scotch whiskeys. The British Shop did a roaring trade as eager expats stocked up on Marmite, Branston Pickle, Robinson’s Lemon Cordial, and other sought-after British goodies not available in Costa Rica. Many of these imported articles were donated by Tesco, a large British supermarket chain. 

The kiddies had a wonderful time splashing about in the Zamora Estate’s swimming pool, and the bouncy castle never stopped bouncing. Adults had the opportunity to buy raffle tickets for flights donated by Nature Air, hotel stays, beauty salon services and restaurant meals. Over 100 items were donated by companies and individuals to raise funds for schools in need. 

The event came to an end with the drawing of the raffle and the cutting of the birthday cake by Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Costa Rica Sharon Campbell, who was in attendance with her husband, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Nicaragua Chris Campbell. As the ambassador sang “God Save the Queen,” she looked charming and very patriotic in a red, white and blue dress made from material with a Union Jack design.

Rain did not stop play, and the British community and friends of many nationalities all claimed they had a “jolly good time!”

–Ann Antkiw

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