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Jaialdi – Then and Now

As a kid, my Wednesday nights were set aside for Basque dancing lessons with friends at the College of Idaho each week. It was a fun way to tie myself to the Basque heritage of my dad’s side of the family. We performed annually at the O’Connor Field House in Caldwell. I remember one instance when this nice older man became my dance partner, and I had a wonderful time showing him the steps to the Jota. I was completely naïve to the fact that it was J.R. Simplot.

Every five years, Basques and non-Basques from far-flung corners of the world come to Boise in a celebration of Basque culture called Jaialdi. The celebration began when I was about ten, with the first celebration taking place at the Old State Penitentiary in Boise. My friends and I danced in the heat with our felt skirts, and watched with envy as the dancers from Spain danced in perfect uniformity with their clip-in braids.

Jaialdi is really unlike any other festival I’ve attended in the States. It’s a great gathering place for friends from long ago, from Spain, or from around town that share a love of everything Basque. This weekend, Jaialdi takes place at Expo Idaho, a long-time client of CLM. I can’t wait to meet up with friends, tell stories from our childhood, and polish off a few Kalimotxos!

Becki Woodbury | Jul 27, 2015