A Basque in Boise

Did you know that today is the 30th anniversary of the very first Jaialdi?

Jaialdi 2020 organizers would like to know where you were in 1987, while the first Jaialdi ever was going on at the Old Idaho Penitentiary in Boise. Jaialdi was originally going to be a one-off festival — now, it’s tradition!

As Annie Gavica, director of the Basque Museum, puts it: “Though locations, leadership, number of attendees and more has changed in those thirty years, one thing has stayed true – the incredible Basque Community in Boise working together to preserve Basque culture in the United States. BRAVO to those that had the foresight to create such an amazing event, ESKERRIK ASKO to those that work countless hours to keep it going, and ZORIONAK to Boise, Euzkaldunak and everyone involved for keeping this party going.”

Go to Jaialdi 2020’s Facebook page and let them know what you were doing during Jaialdi 87!

The World’s Largest Celebration of Basque Culture | Boise, ID

Jaialdi refers to a festival in the Basque Language (Euskara). This festival exhibits the Basque culture with dancing (dantzan) and musical (musika) performances, sporting (kirol) events, and authentic food (jateko) and drink (edateko). The Basque people are known for their merriment, and Jaialdi showcases these characteristics well.

Jaialdi was first celebrated in 1987 at the Old Idaho State Penitentiary as a one time weekend event to educate the public about the Basque culture. Jaialdi ‘87 attracted approximately 30,000 visitors who thoroughly enjoyed the event, the location, and the opportunity to be part of the Basque activities. The festival was so popular that Governor Cecil Andrus asked the local Basque community to put on another celebration to help celebrate Idaho’s Centennial in 1990.

After Jaialdi ’90, it was decided that the Jailaldi would continue to be held in Boise every five years on a rotational basis with four other Basque clubs throughout the United States. Jaialdi has been held in Boise in: 1987, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and the 2015 is being planned. Jaialdi has become so popular that the event had to be moved from the Old Idaho State Penitentiary to the Western Idaho Fairgrounds to accommodate over 40,000 guests. This event is always held on the last weekend of July, which coincides with the Basque community of Boise’s celebration of their patron saint, San Ignacio of Loyola.

(From LocalWiki.org)

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