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R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY : A Red-Letter Day, Plus White and Blue : Representatives of More Than 40 Nations Enjoy Traditional Fourth of July Picnic

July 06, 1994|KATHRYN BOLD

Consuls general representing more than 40 nations participated in that grand old American tradition, the Fourth of July picnic, at an Independence Day celebration staged by the Orange County Office of Protocol and International Visitors and Protocol Foundation.

Foundation members invited the Los Angeles Consular Corps to Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park Monday for an old-fashioned Independence Day party complete with fireworks, flag waving and apple pie. About 250 guests attended the $50-per-person bash, netting $10,000 for the foundation, which financially supports the Office of Protocol.

Patriotic Party

Knott's Gold Rush Camp was draped in red, white and blue banners for the picnic, with a row of American flags lined up at the entrance.

"We've never had a Fourth of July party before," said Gayle Anderson, Orange County chief of protocol, who sported a star-spangled white suit with a rhinestone-studded cowboy hat.

"I'm always celebrating the consuls generals' national holidays and thought it would be nice if we invited them to celebrate ours," she said.

Foundation members put on a patriotic display for the diplomats.

Kev Veturis sang the national anthem with the American flag and the flags of foreign countries as her backdrop. Guests then sat down to a buffet dinner of potato salad, corn on the cob, fried chicken, ribs and, of course, apple pie.

John Frank, vice consul of Bangladesh and entertainment chairman, orchestrated a group of country dancers to demonstrate a few line dances such as the electric slide.

For the grand finale, guests ate ice cream bars while watching fireworks explode above Knott's.

Saluting the Flag

Many of the international diplomats had never attended a Fourth of July bash, and they were impressed:

"This is something we'd like to copy in Sweden," said Peter Hammarstrom, the county's consul general and outgoing dean of the corps. "We've only had an official national day of celebration for 11 years, but we've been a country since 1523. It's my dream that we have a celebration like this. I like the general show of patriotism and how everyone dressed up in red, white and blue."

Indeed, most guests were decked out in Americana attire. Mary Dell Barkouras made some party-goers want to salute with her festive stars-and-stripes vest and skirt topped with a blue cowboy hat. Marcia Giesler sported a blue pantsuit and a T-shirt emblazoned with a sparkling flag.

The Office of Protocol serves as a liaison between Orange County and foreign governments who are represented by consulates in California. Its mission is to encourage cultural, social and business interaction between the international community and the county.

Faces in the crowd included: Kurt Welte, the Swiss consul general and the new dean of the consular corps; Ratu Sir Kamisese Mara, president of Fiji (who arrived with much fanfare and Secret Service agents in tow); Charles Hostler, consul general of Bahrain; David Shaby, consul general of the Dominican Republic; Paul Bender and Virginia Knott Bender, John and Ginger Barnard, Scott and Marylou Hornsby, Carl and Pat Neisser, Richard Bryant, Pat Fleeson, Jerry Richards, Patricia Yoder, Felicia Bukaty, Fred and Eva Schneider, Lois Grisanti, Mariebelle Eustaquio, Elaine Redfield and Jale Kutay.

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