About the Author: Diana Chu serves at U.S. Embassy Canberra in Australia.
U.S. Embassy Canberra staff and their Australian and diplomatic guests were "California Dreamin'" at this year's U.S. Independence Day Celebration in Canberra, Australia. More than 900 people (one of the largest groups in recent memory) attended the celebration, which drew on everything California in honor of Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich's home state.
Though it is winter in Australia, the event brought a touch of summer with a Beach Boy cover band and surf shack. There were also cutouts of movie stars, such as Marilyn Monroe, and the famous Hollywood sign; 20 classic American cars; and batting cages and pitching tents provided by Major League Baseball. On the menu were burgers, chili dogs, fajitas, margaritas, vanilla milkshakes, Ghirardelli chocolates and, of course, California wine.
To kick off the festivities, Ambassador Bleich welcomed guests and toasted the U.S.-Australian friendship. Ambassador Bleich asked guests to remember and honor the ideals our founding fathers envisioned in 1776. The colors were presented by the U.S. Embassy Marine detachment and accompanied by a performance of the U.S. and Australian national anthems. And, of course, the night ended with a spectacular fireworks display.