Basque Festival steeped in history

From lamb stew to Basque beans, the 11th annual Basque Festival has a rich tradition in feeding the masses.

Held at Fuji Park, gates open at 11 a.m., Mass is held in the park at noon, and the traditional Basque meal is served from 1-3 p.m.

Food favorites include barbecue lamb, barbecue turkey, Basque beans, chorizos, Basque bread and of course, the refreshing flavors of picon punch and Winnemucca coffee.

Locals cooking the meal are: Molly Gingell cooking Basque chicken; Charlie Abowd making lamb stew; Red's Old 395 Grill in Carson City, and The JT, The Overland and The Country Club in Gardnerville all have Basque beans; John Procaccini making Basque green salad; Marry Massad making Basque potato salad; and from Ely, Nevada's Sacred Heart Cooks will make the Basque lamb and turkey.

The children's menu includes hamburgers, hot dogs, chips and sno cones.

Proceeds from the festival benefit St. Teresa School and parish youth programs.

"It helps keep tuition affordable for all families at the school, and fund CCD programs, Sunday youth Mass programs and retreats, and text books," said Chris Perdomo, St. Teresa School principal.

In addition to adult activities, available for the kids will be a bounce house, kids games, face painting, and a lot of Basque scarves and T-shirt souvenirs with the Basque logo on them.

"And the food is outstanding," said Perdomo.

"There's no other place outside of the wonderful Basque restaurants to get this wonderful food.

"This is our 11th year (of the festival) and most of the kids are familiar with it. As a school, we help with the festival by wrapping the forks, knives and spoons " about 1,500 of them " make banners and streamers in Basque colors, red, white and green."

Perdomo said the eighth-graders will be helping in the dining room Sunday busing tables, assisting some with dessert and drinks, and earn service hours for their work.

"The kids want to help," she said.

"They absolutely enjoy it. There's lots of things for them to do (at the festival)."

Tickets are $25 in advance for adults or $30 at the door; children 16-younger are free. Tickets are available at Adele's Restaurant and Villa Basque Deli in Carson City, and Country Club Basque Restaurant, The Overland and JT Basque Bar and Dining Room in Gardnerville, or may be ordered online at www.tickets@basquefestival.org.

The festival features Basque dancers from University of Nevada, Reno, wood choppers from the area, a Bertsolari (verse singer), sheep herding demonstrations, all which begins at noon with Catholic Mass led by Father Chuck Durante of St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community.

- Contact Rhonda Costa at rcosta@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

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