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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Patriots to Besiege Russian Estate

Muscovites already have plenty to remind them of the cultural values of the Unites States: Sunday afternoon television re-runs of "Flipper," classic melodramas like "Santa Barbara" and "Dynasty," and, of course, the rugged, tanned Marlboro men silhouetting Moscow's skyline.


But the celebration of things American will come even closer to home Thursday when the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia holds its second annual Fourth of July Extravaganza.


This will be the chance to come and revel shamelessly in Americana. At this party, everyone can speak as loudly as they want. And they can eat a lot of hamburgers.


Director of AmCham, Peter Charow, said this year's celebration will be bigger and better than last year's event, which drew 5,000 people. For one thing, it offers a spectacular location. Whereas last year's party was held on an airstrip behind the Aerostar Hotel, this year's will be held at Kuskovo Estate, a palace with lawns and a pond built in the 18th century by the Sheremetyevo family specifically for summer parties.


Charow said the idea for the event came about because the Chamber felt it was their duty to put on a good party to celebrate America's Independence Day. "We are representatives of the American business community in Moscow and by some estimates there are 70,000 of us here," said Charow. "The embassy has a celebration but it's only open to embassy staff and their guests -- it's closed for outside the community."


Charow explained that while all expatriates are welcome, restrictions apply to the number of Russians at the function. Russians are only invited as guests of expatriates.


"There are 10 or 11 million [people] living here and we could easily be overwhelmed," said Charow. "We absolutely want Russians to come and we expect them as guests. It's just an effort to control the numbers a little bit."


Last year's event was planned on a whim, according to Charow, but it was a memorable event. "It took place on what was formally a secret airfield. These were the deep dark secrets of the Soviet Union and there we are celebrating the Fourth of July."


According to Charow, this year's event will boast a bigger Statue of Liberty than last year. There will also be a bigger circus performance and an increase in food vendors. "There will be dozens of food vendors from barbecued chicken to pizza, beer and soft drinks," Charow said. Other forms of entertainment include a beer garden that seats 400 people, volleyball and golf, a circus, a petting zoo and a hot air balloon.


Several Moscow bands will also perform at the event. Starting at 5 p.m. rock band Dr. Nick takes the stage followed by blues act Liga Bluesa. Around 8:30 p.m., Moscow's country band Kukuruza plays, followed by Magic Pump, an acid jazz band. There will also be a performance by the Kremlin Chamber Orchestra in a more peaceful grotto on the grounds of the estate. All these musical performances will be interspersed by rousing renditions of the U.S. national anthem.


Also at the celebration will be a crafts area with local Russian artists selling their wares; an English-language book sale; face painting, pony rides, and a big inflatable jumping house for kids; fireworks; and a giant raffle featuring 40 prizes, including memberships in Moscow sports clubs and roundtrip business class tickets flying Delta to the United States.


Charow said that as far as he can tell, the event will not be used to make contacts, secure deals and sell products. "We spend most of lives dealing with business and the Fourth of July is one of the four or five times during the year we set that aside and want to go out and have a good time," he said.





Entry to the event, which starts at 4:30 p.m. costs 25,000 rubles. Kids under 12 are free. Passport identification is required. Take the Taganskaya (purple) line all the way southeast to the Ryazansky Prospekt exit. There will be shuttles from the metro to the estate.