‘Basque in the fun’

The 44th annual Caldwell Basque Charity Dinner and Dance celebrates all things Basque with food, drink, music and dance this Saturday at O’Connor Field House.

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© 2012 Idaho Press-Tribune

CALDWELL — Music, dance and a sumptuous authentic Basque dinner … Yes, it’s time once again for the Caldwell Euzkaldunak’s charity dinner, dance, contests and auctions.

What began 44 years ago as a modest effort to purchase basketball hoops and gym equipment for St. Mary’s Catholic Church has since raised more than $1 million for charity, funded hundreds of programs and touched the lives of thousands in Canyon County and the Treasure Valley.

The event is a celebration of everything Basque, from the colorful costumes and ethnic dance and music, to the authentic Basque dinner, prepared by Epi’s Basque Restaurant in Meridian.

Saturday’s dinner and dance also features live and silent auctions and the traditional lamb auction.

Dancing and Basque music from Txantxangorriak and Amuma Says No, Oinkari Basque Dancers of Boise and Homedale’s Herribatza Dantzariak follow dinner.

“We have raised over $1 million for local community members in need and are counting on our many local supporters and contributors to come out and ‘Basque in the fun’ and the unique cultural spirit of giving back that this event has had a long reputation for,” Caldwell Basque member Lisa Gabiola-Weitz said. “Help us reach the fast approaching $2 million mark.”

“It’s one of the first of its kind to showcase its colorful and festive culture, and give all proceeds back to the community for those in need,” Gabiola-Weitz said.

Basque charity history

The Basque charity concept began in Caldwell in 1967 when a small group of men from various walks of life took love of Basque heritage and passion for giving back to the community and their neighbors to a new level. This volunteer group helps individuals who have been hit by difficult times and often fall through the cracks of the system with assistance and other means of help including accident, cancer, and stroke victims, as well as children and the elderly with special needs.

This year, as in the past, the Caldwell Basque Charity organization delivered $8,000 in holiday meats to families in the local and surrounding areas.

“Our committee is still immensely proud of our founding members and the many loyal supporters over the years who have been devoted to keeping this enjoyable and worthy tradition alive and able to continue,” Gabiola-Weitz said.

Donations can be made to Caldwell Euzkaldunak, P.O. Box 258, Huston, ID 83630. Donations of $100 or more will receive an Honorary Basque certificate.

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