Elko, Nevada has long been a cultural hotspot to the Basque people. Originally hailing from an area between France and Spain, many Basque can now be found in places like Chile, Mexico, Argentina—and the United States. Typically less well-known than other populations (due in part to smaller numbers), the Basque have nonetheless maintained a unique language, cuisine and other cultural traditions outside their homeland.
A landmark for this group's presence in Nevada came with the founding of the Elko Basque Club. This came about in 1959, and was quickly followed by a party that brought the independent-spirited ranchers and sheepherders into town. A few years later, this tradition would expand into the full two-day National Basque Festival that's been held annually for over half a decade.
Samplings of Basque food, music and dancers who have often practiced since winter for their big moment are staples of the festival. Traditional sports and games are also well-featured throughout the event. Last year's schedule even included a 5K run and a breadmaking exhibition with the loaves up for auction afterwards! It all took place over the 4th of July weekend, making a massive double-celebration of the partnership between two heritages and a chance to see the fireworks in Elko.
For more details about this year's event, visit the Elko Basque Club website. This is where most the action each year takes place, and it's located only 1.5 miles from the Ramada Elko Hotel and Casino. If you're interested in learning more about the Basque people, we also recommend consulting the North American Basque Organizations "culture" section. You can never know how a dash of something new might enhance your next vacation!