Independence Day Rock Out

Thursday July 12, 2018

Independence Day Rock Out.

Written by Sara Sherman, PCV Ukraine Group 51

This July, the USA was not the only country celebrating their Independence the all-American way, but hundreds of people, Ukrainians and Americans, were having their own rowdy celebration in the capital of Ukraine on June 30.

July 4th: hamburgers and hot dogs, booming country-pride music, seas of red white and blue T-shirts, flags, hats, banners, plastic ware and face paint. The Independence Day Rock Out event at the America House in Kyiv was nothing short of that. After singing both the Ukrainian and American national anthems, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Gene Simmons from Kiss, the Statue of Liberty, and even a great bald eagle joined in on the festivities, sharing their energy and excitement with the crowd.

Hamburgers and hot dogs were served alongside corn on the cob and French fries. Against a backdrop of the American flag, outdoor photos were taken with inflatable electric guitars, rock-star wigs and patriotic, red, white and blue glasses, mustaches and bowties. Inside the America House was the opportunity to take a tour of the building or free-paint on a stretch of white banner paper, where you could see an array of Ukrainian and American flags, hearts, and peace signs.

Current Peace Corps Volunteer, Alan Young, had his hand in the planning of the event. Through his current grant project, Young was able to bring in Cisco and the Racecars, a bluegrass band from Arizona to play on stage for the crowd gathering in the grassy backyard of the America House.

Michael Ketover, Peace Corps Ukraine’s current Country Director was also caught grooving to the beat of their banjo.

Another current PCV, Cortney Copeland, danced with fellow volunteers and soaked up the cultural exchange.

“It was interesting and actually refreshing to see the US represented by a lot of things that are, honestly, kind of old,” Cortney said. “Elvis and Marilyn, Jazz and Bluegrass. Cornhole. These are all things from quite some time ago, but I actually liked it because it reminded me that the US isn’t just whatever recent scandal or political quagmire is in the news lately. It was a bit of historical escapism, I guess.”

Julia Savich, a Ukrainian woman who lives in Kyiv, wore Uncle Sam’s hat and indulged in a hamburger with her husband.

“I liked everything very much,” Julia said. “Cheerful, relaxed atmosphere. Good music and a pleasant time with friends is always cool.”

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