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BUFFALO, Wyo. — Johnson County expects to have one of the longest sheep wagon parades in America when the Big Horn Basque Club and the North American Basque Organizations host their annual festival July 21-25.

The Big Horn Basque Club of Buffalo is asking for sheep wagon entries for the parade. All wagons are eligible. This is the fourth NABO festival and gathering of Basque people that the club has hosted in Buffalo.

The parade will be at 10 a.m. July 23. The end of the parade will also include a small “running of the sheep” down Main Street. The wagons will be on display at the Buffalo city park for the remaining two days of the festival.

The festival begins July 21 with the showing of the “The Last Link,” a documentary film on Basque roots in the American West by filmmakers Ben and Tim Kahn and narrated by Willie Nelson at the Buffalo Theatre.

July 22 events include the Festtera, which offers a sampling of performances by the Basque musical group Xabi Aburruzaga, from Europe, as well as Basque dancing. New this year will be the first NABO Sausage Cookoff, which will include chorizo, Tripota/Morcilla Txapelketa and Luikanka.

The Bread of Life Food Pantry in Buffalo presents a auction of small hand-painted sheep wagons that local artists have painted. The festival also includes Basque dance troupes from California, Utah and Idaho as well as Big Horn Basque Club’s Zaharrer Segi dance troupe.

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Come to enjoy the Basque foods, Basque sporting events, arts and craft vendors and Bertsolariak. Bertsolaritza, or bertsolarism, is the art of singing extemporaneous composed songs in Basque according to various melodies and rhyming patterns. At a formal competition, the bertsolari are called upon to compose and sing different kinds of bertsos by the gai-jartzaile, the “subject setter.”

The gai-jartzaile informs the bertsolari of the type of subject matter, which tune they have to use and the meter.

To apply for an entry in the parade or other information about the festival, contact the Big Horn Basque Club at bighornweb.com/nabo2011 or call Ryan Fieldgrove at 307-758-4540.

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