The occasion started with a parade from City Hall down to the plaza, led by New London’s Mayor Michael Passero. There festivities began with an aurresku by Gauden Bat, a dance troupe from Chino, California, accompanied by txistulari Valerie Arrechea, of San Francisco. The rest of the day featured delightful performances by Gauden Bat, San Francisco’s dance troupe Zazpiak Bat, and the Elko, Nevada-area dance troupe, Ardi Baltza, as well as opportunities for everyone to join in on the dancing. Live music came from renowned trikitixa player Eneko Dorronsoro, accompanied by Izer on the tambourine. Their spirited music inspired the crowd into singing and dancing, setting the tone for the fun-filled celebration of Basque culture in New England.
Attendees also got to experience the Basque rural sports, a mainstay of the New England Basque Club’s gatherings. There was a demonstration of aizkolaritza, or wood-chopping, sokatira, tug of war, and txingaruten, weight-carrying.
Guests dined on delicious paella and pintxos, and enjoyed both a traditional and rosé txakoli. Wines and New London’s own Safe Harbor beer was also available bottled or on tap. Basque food and wares were available for purchase from La Vasca. The weather even suited the occasion, serving up a light rain reminiscent of the Basque Country’s zirimiri.
Basquefest, all in all, had a successful debut and the New England Basque Club would like to thank Ardi Baltza, Gauden Bat, the Thames River Greenery, Charlotte Hennegan, Fred Argilagos, La Vasca, the City of New London, Mayor Michael Passero, Iker Goiria Etxeberria, Eneko Dorronsoro, Amaia Uribe and Euskal Telebista, Maialen Goirizelaia Altuna, Joseba Etxarri Lizeaga and Euskalkultura, as well as all those who attended and who volunteered. We, at the New England Basque Club, look forward to making Basquefest an annual tradition and we are grateful to all of you helping us to do so. Mila esker!
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