Jaialdi is in the books, already 2 weeks past, and I thought I’d share a few photos and moments from the festival.
For me and my family, Jaialdi began with a visit to the Basque Block on Wednesday, when we quickly ran into some old friends from our Seattle days. On Thursday, I attended a presentation by Aimar Arizmendi, who, with his father, is organizing a cruise in Newfoundland that will visit some of the sites frequented by the Basque Whalers of yesteryear. The presentation featured Christine Echeverria Bender, author of The Whaler’s Forge, and her experiences researching the history of Basque whalers in America. It sounds like an exciting trip!
Friday was dominated by the NABO convention, which I attended representing New Mexico Euskal Etxea. During the meeting, the Lehendakari of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu, addressed the NABO delegates and, shortly later, Jaialdi as a whole at a reception at the Convention Center. He highlighted the continuing ties between those Basques in the diaspora and those in Euskadi and the need for even stronger ties between all of us.
On Saturday, things shifted to Expo Idaho, which featured food and drink booths, dancing, and sports. There was also an indoor market, with wares of all types from a number of vendors. It was packed, a testament to the wonderful items on display. And maybe the high temperatures outside the air-conditioned market…
No Basque festival is complete without dancing and we saw a few groups perform. The last group we saw was from Nafarroa, and I was told by John Ysursa that this was the first time that a group from Nafarroa had come to Jaialdi. They were extremely entertaining, at one point each of them kissing one of the Oinkari dancers watching from the floor.
My daughter really enjoyed watching the dancers. I asked Gloria Lejardi, who tried to teach me Basque dancing when I was a kid, if she would teach my daughter a few steps. I’ve still got to work on her a bit. I keep teasing her that, if as a boy I’d only realized how much women liked a good dancer, I may have stuck with it…
That other staple of Jaialdi is the sporting events. We didn’t make it to Sports Night as it seemed a bit much for a 7-year-old. However, we did get to see some wood chopping. I don’t recall now if my daughter took this picture from my shoulders, or if I did. I thought it turned out cool. You can blame it either on my moving too much (if my daughter took it) or the kalimotxo (if I did).
Every night the Basque Block was full of revelers that would break into song or dance at a moment’s notice. The singing really seems to make a Basque festival.
On Sunday, the last night of Jaialdi, Amuma Says No played at the Basque Block. It was the first time I had heard them live. The crowd was really into it, with kids both young and old dancing to the music. It was a great ending to a great festival.
Jaialdi was also filled with family, as my dad had a cousin visit from Euskadi and my mom’s family had a big reunion. Almost all of the cousins gathered, one of the few times since my grandmother died. It was great seeing everyone! I tried to keep up with the younger cousins as they went bar hopping. I held my own for a while, but bowed out a little earlier as the NABO meeting was coming up the next day. Yeah, that is my excuse…
It was great seeing so many old friends as well as meeting new ones, ones I’ve only known via email before. I look forward to the next Jaialdi!