Guests at the American Chamber of Commerce’s Independence Day celebration at Moscow's Park Kuskovo proved that they're not just fair-weather friends. The attendees’ spirits did not seem to dampen even as the skies above the beautiful estate poured rain upon the grounds.
Most waited out the hour-long storm under food-stand umbrellas, trees, tables, chairs, plastic bags – anything they could find – and then continued the celebrations after the sun decided to make a return appearance. The storm also featured thunder and lightening, perhaps a preview to the fireworks display later in the evening.
AmCham organizers estimated that about 10,000 people attended, an increase from the 7,000 who were at the previous year’s event. Coca-Cola was the main sponsor of this year’s event, held July 7. (The official holiday is July 4, of course, but even national holidays can be delayed a couple of days to allow for a Saturday celebration.) Delta Capital was also a major sponsor, and several other businesses participated as well, organizers said.
Along with food and fireworks, the program also included a disco, a hot-air balloon and sporting events. Americans, Russians and other foreigners alike also participated in baseball and American football exhibitions.
The guest speaker was Ambassador James Collins, who will soon be ending his stint as envoy here in Moscow. He praised the spirit of the crowd, commending guests for remaining despite the temporary downpour.