The National Basque Festival is an annual event presented by the Elko Euzkaldunak Club in Elko, NV, generally around the Fourth of July weekend. With origins dating back to the early 1960s, this event has drawn Basque immigrants, descendants and those interested in Basque culture to northeastern Nevada for the past seven decades, with the event growing each year.
What, then, is a Basque festival? Elko’s Basque Festival is one part music and dancing, one part strength competition, lots of food and a whole lot of celebration of the Basque culture, in honor of those who traveled far from their homes in France and Spain to settle in the New World.
Competitors gather to dance to traditional music, sing songs from the Old Country, eat hearty, family-style meals and sip on the famous Basque cocktail, the Picon Punch. Meanwhile, feats of strength entertain audiences, with wood chopping, heavy stone lifting and other competitions taking center stage. Each year, there is also a 5K fun run along with a golf tournament at the Ruby View Golf Course. And don’t forget the handball games, which draw players from across the West. Of course, the event is never limited to Basque peoples, with visitors from diverse cultural backgrounds coming to Elko each year to learn about this unique piece of living American history.