The Los Banos Basque Club had the honor of hosting the 50th North American Basque Organization convention May 20 and 21 at the Los Banos Fairgrounds. The weekend celebration was definitely a BasqueFest.

The convention and picnic included a Mus tournament (a Basque card game played with a partner, with cards that nowhere-near resemble the cards we all know), a Pork Fest Contest and Bertsolariak performances.

Saturday night, part of the nearby city street was closed so children, parents and grandparents–young and old–could dance to the band “Amerikanuak.”

At Sunday’s Mass everyone was blessed with the presence of Bishop Emeritus Armando Xavier Ochoa and Father Antonio Egiguen.

After Mass there was a wood chopping exhibition. One of the wood choppers, Jose Tellechea, was here at the 1984 Basque Picnic 39 years ago. Now at the age of 65, he competed and won again.

After a lunch of lamb stew, lamb chops, beans, salad, salsa, bread and cheese, everyone was treated to beautiful Basque dances performed by Idaho, Nevada and California Basque dancers.

Los Banos Basque Club President, Mikel Zabalbeascoa, said they served lunch to about 900 people, and well over 1,000 people attended the two-day event. It was a very successful picnic.

The Westside Express