As guests mingled in the deepening twilight under air-conditioned tents, snacking on Smoking Joe's pork ribs, posing for photo ops in front of a candy apple red Harley Davidson Fatboy, and gulping Coca Cola, the backyard barbeque-themed U.S. Embassy Jakarta 4th of July celebration officially began. U.S. Ambassador Scot Marciel and Mrs. Marciel and ASEAN Ambassador David Carden and Ms. Rebecca Riley co-hosted over 600 guests at the Marciel's official residence in central Jakarta.
Ambassador Marciel inspired the crowd with his short remarks in Bahasa Indonesia and English. He spoke on independence and the blessings of freedom, the excitement of the growing partnership between the United States and Indonesia with our shared values of freedom and democracy and celebrating family and friends.
In the weeks leading up to America's 235th birthday celebration, the U.S. Embassy's social media team held two contests, one for our over 324,000 Facebook fans and one for our 24,000 plus "Tweeps." Entrants submitted photographs they had taken at either an American cultural event, or of an American flag. The two most creative photos were selected, and the winner from each contest was invited to bring a friend to the Independence Day barbeque. The team also devised a creative way to get even more friends! Every photo we snapped during our Harley Davidson photo op will be uploaded to our Facebook site next week. We told our guests: "Friend us on Facebook!" We handed out small business cards which included our U.S. Embassy website, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube links.
This year, a record 53 companies sponsored the event, directly contributing to our success and to the delight of our guests! Sponsors included Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Microsoft, Amway, California table grapes, Washington Apple Commission, and Starbucks.
One of the highlights of the evening was the Japan-based U.S. Navy 7th Fleet band, the Far East Edition. The 17-piece band with their bright white navy uniforms and endless talent rocked with American pride. The band filled the tent with a range of music -- from Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" to Michael Jackson's "I Want You Back." The music was irresistible, as the guests happily abandoned their American treats to disco down to the dance floor.
Happy Independence Day!