Jaialdi means “Festival” in the Basque Language (Euskara). This festival exhibits the Basque culture with dancing (dantzan) and musical (musika) performances, sporting (kirol) events, and authentic food (jateko) and drink (edateko). The Basque people are known for their merriment, and Jaialdi showcases these characteristics well.
Jaialdi was first celebrated in 1987 at the Old Idaho State Penitentiary as a one time weekend event to educate the public about the Basque culture. Jaialdi ‘87 attracted approximately 30,000 visitors who thoroughly enjoyed the event, the location, and the opportunity to be part of the Basque activities. The festival was so popular that Governor Cecil Andrus asked the local Basque community to put on another celebration to help celebrate Idaho’s Centennial in 1990.
After Jaialdi ’90, it was decided that the Jaialdi would continue to be held in Boise every five years. Jaialdi has been held in Boise in: 1987, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015. Jaialdi has become so popular that the event had to be moved from the Old Idaho State Penitentiary to the Western Idaho Fairgrounds to accommodate over 40,000 guests. This event is always held on the last weekend of July, which coincides with the Boise’s Basque community annual San Inazio festival which celebrates their patron saint, San Ignacio of Loyola.
Jaialdi 2020 is now Jaialdi 2021! This year’s festival has been postponed due to coronavirus concerns, but we look forward to celebrating with you from July 27-August 1, 2021. Jaialdi is one of the largest Basque festivals in the world, a celebration of culture that is a gift from Boise’s Basque community to the world. Every five years, thousands of people come to Idaho from around the globe to dance, eat, sing, play music, and meet old and new friends. Join us!
For more information, check out Jaialdi’s website by clicking the button below.