The Kern County Basque Club is having its 41st annual Basque Festival on May 25 and 26. The festival will be held at the club house located at 2301 South Union near Planz Road. The two-day festival is a chance for Basques to celebrate their heritage and for non-Basques to experience a very unique culture.
The Kern County Basque Festival is a combination of authentic food, culture, music, games, and dancing. The Kern County Basque Festival is one of the largest Basque festivals in the United States and many out-of- towners will make the journey to Bakersfield just to attend the event. Basque traditions originated from a small area located between Spain and France. Basque people and culture has now spread all over the world.
The Kern County Basque Festival is one of the most popular Basque festivals. There were about 3,500 people that attended the festival in 2012. Kern County has a large Basque community and several other Basque communities in the United States travel to Bakersfield for the festival. The Basque culture originated in The Kern County Basque Festival has activities for all ages.
The events on Saturday begin at 8 a.m. and the events on Sunday begin at 10 a.m. The activities on both days will continue until late evening. The price for an adult ticket is $20 and the price for children 12 and under is $12. The festival is filled with Basque traditions such as a performance by a Basque marching band the Bakersfield Klika, a traditional Basque mus card game tournament, handball matches played by Basque Country natives, and a performance of traditional dances.
“I have been a part of the festival since I was a little girl. I use to perform and teach the traditional dances that take place at the festival. It is amazing to see how popular the festival has become in past years,” said Stephanie Duhart, 38, a Basque Country native who lives in Bakersfield.
The activities and performances are not the only things that draw in a large crowd. The food keeps people coming back every year. The food served throughout the festival is authentic Basque dishes. If you are not familiar with Basque style dining then just be prepared for delicious food and a lot of it. During Sunday’s events there will be BBQ lamb sandwiches served.
“I have attended in previous years and realized that it is the only two days that I will stop my diet because the food is everywhere and it is irresistible,” said Holly Campbell, 27, a student at Bakersfield College.
The events do not just include those that are scheduled for the festival. Many people continue their celebrations at other locations in Bakersfield. Benji’s French Basque Restaurant has live traditional Basque music in the bar Saturday evening after the festival and many people go to Wool Growers on Monday morning for breakfast.
“The whole weekend is devoted to family, friends, and fun,” said Bernard Arduain, 65, owner of Benji’s French Basque Restaurant. “Once one festival ends we begin planning for and counting down the days until the next festival. The entire Basque community in Bakersfield works together to make sure that the festival is memorable for everyone.”
The two-day festival has become increasingly more popular in past years as Basque traditions have spread throughout the Bakersfield community. Overall the Kern County Basque Festival is a place where family and friends can spend time together and have fun.