Culture

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Numbering about 15,000, Boise’s ethnic Basque community is the second largest such community in the United States after Bakersfield, California and the fifth largest in the world outside Argentina, Chile and the Basque Country in Spain and France. A large Basque festival known as Jaialdi is held once every five years (next in 2010). Downtown Boise features a vibrant section known as the “Basque Block”. Boise’s mayor, David H. Bieter, is of Basque descent.

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Boise is also a regional hub for jazz and theater. The Gene Harris Jazz Festival is hosted in Boise each spring.

The city is also home to a number of museums, including:

    • The Boise Art Museum
    • Idaho Historical Museum
    • The Basque Museum and Cultural Center
    • Idaho Black History Museum
    • Boise WaterShed
    • The Discovery Center of Idaho

Several theater groups operate in the city, including:

  • The Idaho Shakespeare Festival
  • Boise Little Theatre
  • Boise Contemporary Theater
  • Prairie Dog Productions

On the first Thursday of each month, a gallery stroll is hosted in the city’s core business district by the Downtown Boise Association. The city also has the Egyptian Theater as a renovated venue. In the fall, Downtown Boise hosts a film festival called Idaho International Film Festival.

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The Boise Centre on the Grove is an 85,000-square-foot (7,900 m2) convention center that hosts a variety of events, including:

  • International
  • National
  • Regional conventions
  • Conferences
  • Banquets
  • Consumer shows.

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It is located in the heart of downtown Boise and borders the Grove Plaza, which hosts numerous outdoor functions throughout the year.

The Morrison-Knudsen Nature Center offers water features and wildlife experiences just east of downtown. It is located adjacent to Municipal Park. It features live fish and wildlife exhibits, viewing areas into the water, bird and butterfly gardens, waterfalls and a free visitor’s center.

boisetemple-150x150Boise has a diverse and vibrant religious community. The Jewish community’s Ahavath Beth Israel Temple, completed 1896, is the nation’s oldest continually-used temple west of the Mississippi. The Boise Hare Krishna Temple opened in August 1999. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has over 60 congregations in Boise and dedicated a temple there in 1984, the first of 6 temples dedicated that year.specialoympics-150x150

Boise (along with Valley and Boise Counties) hosted the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. More than 2,500 athletes from over 85 countries participated.