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Boise's Basque Blowout Jaialdi Is Postponed Until 2021

The front of the Basque Center in downtown Boise. It's a white building with black supports and it flies both the American flag and the Basque flag off its top balcony.

One of the largest Basque festivals in the world is pushing pause for a year as it tries to wait out the coronavirus. Organizers who put on Jaialdi made the decision Monday to postpone the event until 2021.

Jaialdi is held in the Treasure Valley once every five years in July to help celebrate San Ignazio, the patron saint of the Basques.

But with coronavirus still spreading in the U.S. and across the world, the festival’s marketing director, Julie Hahn, said it became clear they had to pull the plug.

We’re just working out of an abundance of caution,” Hahn said. “We don’t want anyone to have to risk their health to come to Jaialdi.”

Tens of thousands of people come to Boise for the festival, including many from the Basque country in northern Spain and southern France.

Spain has the highest number of reported cases – and deaths – per capita of any sizable country in the world, according to the New York Times.

Organizers, like Hahn had been holding out hope the coronavirus would begin to fade.

“But with just the amount of uncertainty that is out there and not quite knowing what’s going to happen in the next month or two, it got to the point where it was untenable and we had to make a decision,” she said.

Family reunions are centered around Jaialdi, as are opportunities for people to experience Basque food, drink, and even traditional games.

Those who already bought tickets will be refunded and they will need to buy passes for next year’s festival. Updates from the festival can be found on its social media pages or on its website.

The delay isn’t ideal, but Hahn said it’ll make next year’s celebration all the better.

“I think it’s going to be a sweeter, more meaningful festival. I mean, Jaialdi is always great, but I think this one is going to be extra sweet.”

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!