Kern County Basque Festival: Something for Everyone

See our Calendar of Events for info on the latest Kern County Festival.

The Kern County Basque Festival offers something for everyone. Here’s what these Basques had to say about this year’s event:

Yvonne and Noel Goyhenetche
Yvonne and Noel Goyhenetche

Noel and Yvonne Goyhenetche
From: Rocklin, Calif.

Driving time to the festival:
4 hours

Thoughts about the festival:
It’s a chance to be with family and friends and allow our children to be around other Basque kids. (The Goyhenetches have two sons, 17 and 14, and a daughter, 13.)

Ann Erreca with some dancers from Los Banos and Chino
Ann Erreca (left) with some dancers from Los Banos and Chino

Ann Erreca
From: Los Banos, Calif.

Driving time to the festival:
2 ½ hours

Connection to the Basque Country:
Paternal grandparents from Bizkaia

Thoughts about the festival:

I brought my father to the festival for the last 10 years. He passed away recently and before he died, he told me that “Heaven is a big Basque picnic.” Attending the Bakersfield picnic is a way to celebrate my father.

Mirentxu Auzqui and Fabienne Andere
Mirentxu Auzqui and Fabienne Andere
Mirentxu Auzqui and Fabienne Andere

Connection to the Basque Country:
Auzqui, from Arnegi, France; Andere from Barkoxe, France

Thoughts about the festival:
We heard that it was one of the best festivals, that there are good dancers and that it’s very hot! We are rather astonished at all the Basque activities that they do here.

Jean Michel Indaburu and Felix Echeverria
Jean Michel Indaburu and Felix Echeverria

Felix Echeverria and Jean Michel Indaburu
Echeverria, from Bakersfield
Indaburu, from Chino.

Driving time to the festival:
Echeverria: 25 minutes; Indaburu: 2 ½ hours

Connection to the Basque Country:

Echeverria: Mother from Lekarroz and Father from Maya
Indaburu: Mother from Banka and father from Busanaritz

Thoughts about the festival:
Echeverria: My favorite part of the festival is seeing old friends.

Indaburu: Seeing life long friends. I used to play handball here every year. This is my favorite court to play on. It’s like my home court. This place was not even built when I started. I played at “the chicken coop” at Noriega’s (referring to the old court encased in chicken wire at Noriega’s restaurant).

Sebastian Calderon
Sebastian Calderon

Sebastian Calderon
From: Chino, Calif.

Driving time: 2 hours

Connection to the Basque Country:

Grandfather from Lekarroz

Thoughts about the festival:

Favorite part: Friends and the food.

Dolores Duhalde and Marichu Dutrey
Dolores Duhalde and Marichu Dutrey

Dolores Duhalde and Marichu Dutrey
From: Ontario, Calif.

Driving Time:
2 ½ hours.

Connection to Basque Country:
Both born in Arizkun, Spain

Thoughts about the festival:

We come to see friends that we haven’t seen in a long time – since childhood.

Kaylin Othart
Kaylin Othart

Kaylin Othart
From: Bakersfield

Connection to the Basque Country:
My uncle Dominic Othart is from the Basque Country

Thoughts about the festival:
I come because the Otharts and also some other family members, the Walkers, come every year. I love the atmosphere and meeting new people.