National pride from all sides!

Posted: July 7, 2009 in Kennedy Center, Training
Tags: , , ,

4th July - TinkIt’s no surprise that 4th July is a big deal in DC.  People take Independence Day seriously all over the States, right, so take the average American 4th of July celebration and times it by 20, and lo, you have the 4th of July in the 4th July - KC rooftopnation’s capital!  Every year, the Kennedy Center decks out its halls with an American feast, sets up its rooms with games, and offers up its terrace to tables of revellers both young and old.  It’s a real  family affair, and you can just as easily find an all-American hot dog as you can a fine crab dinner.  They have it all.  And we ate most of it!

4th July - Egypt & Albania celebrate The celebrations start with an Independence Day Parade from Constitution Avenue to 7th and 17th Streets, featuring marching bands, military and specialty units, floats, and VIP’s.  Then there’s the Smithsonian Folklife Festival which includes music and dance performances, 4th July - the Fellows with the Statue of Libertycrafts and cooking demonstrations, storytelling and discussions of cultural issues. The National Archives celebrates with special family programming celebrating the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the White House Visitor Center offers games, crafts and other activities celebrating America’s Birthday.

Then the real fun starts, and on big screens 4th July - Tink & Abe Lincolnthroughout the Center, you can watch and listen to it all.  First, the concert on the Washington Monument Grounds (the U.S. Army Concert Band and the U.S. Army Band Downrange plays) then the Capitol Fourth Concert.  A 4th of July tradition in the nation’s capital includes a live concert by the National Symphony Orchestra (resident at the Kennedy Center) and several “pop artists” performing patriotic music on the West  Lawn of the U.S. Capitol 4th July - Happy 4th 3Building.  This year, the “pop artists” included Barry Manilow, Aretha Franklin, Natasha Bedingfield, and the cast of Sesame Street.  Seriously.  And there was a short address by Obama himself.  Of course, the highlight of the whole day & evening is the incredible fireworks display 4th July - Happy 4th 4that happens at about 9:15 pm.  The fireworks are launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument.  It just happens that the Kennedy Center terrace is a prime viewing location.  It really is incredible!  OK, every animal for 30 kilometres is scared out of its wits, but hey, it’s Independence Day!  Needless to say, we had a blast!

Just for the record, we gave the Independence Day celebrations a 4th July - Noora & Denissegood run for their money the night before when we hosted our annual National Dinner.  We first did this last year to welcome two of the Fellows into the group when they arrived late to the programme.  The premise is simple: everyone cooks something traditional from their country and we all get together and nosh.  It was a great success last year and so we decided to do it again this year with the new Fellows as a way of spending some time with them.  They have been doing a lot of classes, as we did last year, so we have not seen them too much.  Michael had said 4th July - Katerina & Lucaswe need to network more and there’s nothing like a multi-national meal and a bottle of genuine Mexican tequila to seal a bond!  So we had food from Romania, Czech Republic, Mexico, Argentina, Croatia, Kuwait, Egypt (although, I’m not sure pasta counts, Mohamed!), South Africa, Kenya, Palestine, China, France, and many more that I can’t think of right now.  But there was lots.  And it was good.  Last year Johann’s bacon and banana pizza was treated with total disdain by all the Fellows but this year, after he “made” it again (bought a bacon pizza and cut some banana onto it) Fation took a bet with him that if any of the Fellows ate his pizza, he’d pay him $50 per slice.  (Did I mention that no one ate a single slice last year?!)  In the space of 1 4th July - Johann & Abe Lincoln minute, both Yvonne (Romania) and George (Kenya) had tucked into said pizza, and later Yvonne even went back for more!  As far as I know, Johann is still waiting for his $150…

Last year I made a lentil bobotie so this year, sticking with the banana theme, I made banana bread which, unlike Johann’s pizza (which I believe is still sustaining him in the way of left-overs) disappeared chop-chop, as all decent banana bread does.  Vive le banan!

  1. S!mangele says:

    Sjoe…this sounds awesome Tanya!

  2. fthk says:

    Thanks, Simangele. It is challenging and awesome and exciting and difficult! But thanks for following the journey. Catch you back in CT sometime? At an airport, maybe?!

  3. Mum says:

    Koeksusters next year?????!!!

  4. fthk says:

    Not after you told me how difficult they are to make! I now have a culinary reputation to uphold ;-)

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