BOISE – Saturday was day two of three of the Basque Festival on the Basque block in downtown Boise. There was a lot of food, a lot of dancing and a lot of fun had by all.
"We need non-Basques to come to these things because at the end of the day it makes the Basque want to be Basque," said John Ysursa, a member of the Basque Center.
Roughly, a thousand people spent the afternoon celebrating the Basque culture in Boise, a culture that settled in the Treasure Valley in the 1890s.
"I think we still are who we are as humans," said Ysursa. "We want to belong to something and in the specific case of the Basques, there was always that notion of the importance of family, the extended family of the community, so it's been going now since the 1920s, these annual celebrations."
From the food to the dancing to Paleta, all of it was to remind Basques who they are and introduce others to who they are.
"We just never been down before and wanted to check things out and have some food and enjoy some dancing and some music," said first timer John Townsend.
The entire Basque block was closed off to make the event possible.
"My kids are Basque dancers and I love coming down to watch them continue on with their culture of the Basque people," said Tom Monasterio who was serving up authentic Basque food.
Across the country there are roughly 60,000 Basques. In Idaho, there is 6,000 to 10,000, the highest concentration of Basques in the country.
"Cultures that stay intact, maintain their rituals and in the Basques, a big part of that has been the tradition, so many of the dances we saw this afternoon were at least 400 years old, historically. They're probably older than that, but the first time somebody wrote it down was about 400 years ago," said Ysursa.
If you feel like you missed out, you haven't. There's still time to come down to the Basque block. "Amuma Says No" performs Saturday at 9 p.m. with the party going until 1:00 a.m. Sunday.
More events are scheduled for Sunday with a picnic at Municipal Park, followed by more fun and entertainment on the Basque block Sunday night.