This page is a part of my Moscow Life project, collection of illustrated stories from Moscow available online since 1995. I keep adding new ones now and then, please check complete list of all 50+ articles accumulated over 9 years of project existence - or the most recent story.

Andrey

 

THE JULY FOURTH IN MOSCOW

July 1997

     This my story may be called a special report. Normally, I do not make any comments here about current events. There are other places and excellent news agencies.

But I decided to write this story since there were beautiful pictures - and so many (though of course not all) visitors to this page are Americans. So let us start with the question, what do they do on July 4 in Moscow? Well, it seriously depends on who do you mean by they. Majority of Muscovites have no idea that Fourth of July is a special day for millions of people - and for the entire United States of America. But on the other hand thousands of Moscow visitors from the US and thousands of Muscovites are looking forward to taking part in July 4 events.  

Tradition of big official celebration of July Fourth in Moscow is relatively new. 1997 is the third year when The American Chamber of Commerce rents the entire area of Kuskovo Estate, a neat museum that once was a property of extremely rich family of Count Sheremetiev, to organize a party for all expatriates, their friends, and colleagues.
(You may get a better look if you click on any picture in this story - it'll expand to a larger image.)

Surprisingly, this Moscow event, is not the first of its kind in Russia. Since 1988, in then the Soviet Union, in a small town of Troitsk located 20 miles south of Moscow, July 4 fireworks were marking every summer in the exchange camp of high school students from the USA and the USSR. At that time, Troitsk was definitely the only site in the USSR where Americans (besides kids, mostly educators from California were present) could enjoy barbecues, rivers of beer, wine and vodka, and colorful fireworks.

Moscow party of 1997 in the open air of course included football on perfect park lawns, kiddie games, food and beer stands, smokes of all flavors of barbecued food, and music. On a big stage in the middle of regular Kuskovo park, Dennis Edwards (The Temptations) was performing next to a large statue - guess what a statue.

On the other side of the palace, near its official stairway facing a beautiful pond, a string orchestra was playing.

And there was a huge cake, 3 by 6 feet, that looked like the American flag and tasted quite good - and every guest of the event had a chance to check that personally.

Perfectly shaped bushes, smooth lawns, and old marble statues were strangely decorated with balloons and sponsors' logos. Perhaps regular visitors to the park would find that a bit out of place. But it's worth keeping in mind that original owners of the estate were using it mostly for parties and all sorts of entertainment. So, long live the tradition to have fun in Kuskovo!
Later, there was an impressive fireworks display and singing of the American national anthem a capella led by Edwards.

For almost 8 hours, from 4 p.m. until midnight, guests of the party were enjoying gorgeous weather, abundant food, and cheerful talks with friends and even strangers. American patriots wearing all sorts of versions of the American flag on their shirts, ties, and even socks were a spectacular sight for Muscovites, but in most cases it was a bit difficult to tell who is who at the party. Moscow crowd is getting more and more cosmopolitan.

And this is all - more pictures and less content than usual, but this is just an addition to me regular stories, just a curious and merry international moment of Moscow life...

Andrey Sebrant - asebrant@online.ru.ru


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