The milestone was not lost on the hundreds at the Basque Picnic at the Los Banos Fairgrounds on May 18. The golden anniversary attracted people from all over the western United States. They ate, mingled and watched traditional dances.
Basque people came with their own language and culture from the region where northeastern Spain meets southwestern France, and many settled locally to herd sheep. The Basque country is made up of seven regions that straddle the border between France and Spain. Basque people speak variations of a language called Euskara, which is unrelated to any other tongue in the world. Many residents of Basque country immigrated to America in the late 1800s and early 1900s to become agricultural workers.
At top, dancers perform a traditional dance. Right, the Iturriaga family, from left, John, Samantha, Brody, 6, and Annabelle, 10, look over items for sale. At right, people enjoy a meal.