Annual Basque Festival Sunday at Fuji Park |

Annual Basque Festival Sunday at Fuji Park

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Mary Ann Randall holds a scarf with the logo of the St. Teresa Basque Festival which will take place at Fuji Park on Sunday. Randall is one of the coordinators and director of religious education.

The fund-raiser has grown into a community picnic and offers many traditional Basque events to entertain and educate the public in addition to Mass and good food.

University of Nevada, Reno’s Basque dancers will perform, as will a Bertsolari – the verse singer, Sandy Moore and her dog-herding demonstrations, wood-chopping contests and lots of great activities for the children.

“This is a big community gathering,” said Mary Ann Randall, director of religious education at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community. “It’s a good family day. Our youth group handles all the kids’ activities like Whiffle Ball, sack races, volleyball and face painting.”

Youth leader Telsche Saunders is in charge of the youth activities.

Randall said Moore and the sheep-herding demonstrations are fascinating to watch.

“She trains dogs for ranchers, farmers and private owners. It’s really fun.”

Money raised from the festival is used for basic operations at St. Teresa school.

“We’re able to bring in guest speakers. And, as we continue to grow, it takes so much to keep operating. The fund-raisers keep us from increasing tuition,” Randall added.

Randall said there are about 200 students enrolled at St. Teresa School, which operates kindergarten through eighth grade; 600 in CCD at the church and 65 kids in the youth group.

“We’re also selling scarfs at the festival with this year’s logo and date on them,” Randall said. “They are $5. This is when we all become Basque for the day.”

Charlie Abowd and John Borda had the inspiration for the festival years ago. Abowd helps with the cooking.

“I’m not personally cooking everything,” he said, “but we have the boys from the church and guys from Ely come in every year to fire roast turkeys on spits over open mahogany pits. The same with lamp chops.

“We start the fire at 3 or 4 in the morning. The mahogany is an indigenous wood from the Ely area. We have a Lebanese cooking lamb stew and Croatians and Serbians and a couple of Basque-Os in the background helping out.”

Molly Gingel will make the Basque baked chicken dish and Red’s 395 Grill will provide a Basque rice dish. John Ascuaga also brings fresh-baked Basque bread for sale.

“The rice dish has chorizo in it,” Abowd said. It has chorizo, fresh cumin, garlic, salt, pepper and tomatoes.”

The Cracker Box is making a potato salad Basque style, and Abowd will provide the lamb stew with a little help from his friends – Gingel, Michelle Palmer, Helaine Jesse and Abowd’s father, Paul.

“The three Basque restaurants in Gardnerville will bring their version of Basque beans.

“This is the brainchild of myself and John Borda, he’s an old Nevada Basque. He’s still involved in an advisory sort of way.

“But what the community needs to know is, even though it’s a fund-raiser, it is a fabulous family event. There’s games for kids, food, a whole section of food for children, hot dogs and hamburgers. But more importantly, it is so blatantly obvious why people choose Carson City as a place to live – community involvement. Kids 15 and younger eat free, you’re only paying for adults. These kinds of activities make this community special.”

Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.

If You Go

What: St. Teresa Basque


When: Begins at noon with Mass; gates open at 11 a.m.

Where: Fuji Park

Cost: $25 per adult; children 15 and younger free

Call: 882-1968