San Ignazio Basque Festival a Boise Tradition For Many

A crowd taking pictures of the simmering paella at the San Ignazio Basque Festival in Boise. Photo by Ed Simon for The Boise Beat.

The Basque community is holding their annual San Ignazio Basque Festival this weekend. Food, music, dancing, drink and religious celebrations are featured at this three-day event, running theough Sunday, July 30th. John Eserza, one of the announcers for the event, told the Boise Beat, “What started as just one ethnic celebration has now become a public celebration, because here in the Basque Block it’s open to all. We Basques love it when our non-Basque neighbors come to town and join us in this annual festival. In Basque country, just about every town has a patron saint that is commemorated, so the Basques that migrated here took a general consensus to select the Feast of Saint Ignatius, July 31st. That’s why we’re here, on the hottest weekend of the year!”.

photo gallery follows

Sockeye Brewing is at the Festival with a full line of beer on tap. The Basque Market has a booth featuring white wine sangria, while other booths serve red wine and red wine sangria. There are many choices for food also. The Basque Market has many appetizers inside, while Bardenay and Bar Gernika are serving a wide variety of food and drink. There are also craft booths at the Festival.

The culinary highlight of the San Ignazio Basque Festival, however, is the Basque Market’s paella. It is cooked outdoors several times a day, with long lines queing up for the delicious paella. Tony Eiguren, owner of the Basque Market along with his wife Tara, told The Boise Beat, “It originated in Valencia, Spain, which is not in Basque county. It’s not a Basque dish, but it’s the national dish of Spain and everyone has taken it and made it their own. The Basque like their seafood but also their meats so it’s kind of an incorporation of the two. That’s the difference and how it becomes Basque”. He talked about the difficulty of cooking it for a large crowd instead of just a few people, saying, “It’s about the same, the worst part is trying to get all the seafood in, it takes several people. You need to get it in there quick!”.

The San Ignazio Basque Festival features many interesting things to do, from watching dancers and musicians perform to playing Basque handball at the Basque Cultural Center. Another popular game, pala (a form of raquetball) can also be played. The Basque Museum is open so everyone can see the history of the Basque people in the Treasure Valley. Professionall dancers and musicians entertain in the evenings. It’s not too late, so go check of the San Ignazio Basque Festival in Boise’s Basque Block for fun and great food!

The San Ignazio Basque Festival

The Basque Block, Grove Street

Boise

Basque Center San Inazio Festival Info

The Basque Museum

The Basque Market

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