It's easy to get lost in the haze of summer. Between lazy bicycle journeys along the Greenbelt, hikes through the Foothills, daylong backyard grilling parties and rafting the Boise River, remember to make time for the arts and culture blossoming in and around the City of Trees. From downtown community events like the San Inazio Festival at the Basque Center to day trips to the Wood River Valley for the Sun Valley Writers' Conference, Boise Weekly has made a list of some of the must-see cultural events to help you plan your sunshiny season.
Second and fourth
Movies in the Garden
Idaho Botanical Garden: idahobotanicalgarden.org
There's something ghostly about drive-in movie theaters. Motor cinemas used to be everywhere, cropping up out of fallow lots like dandelions. Today, they're vestiges of a time when watching a movie and being outside weren't mutually exclusive. Thankfully you can still get your outdoor film viewing at the Idaho Botanical Garden. Join other moviegoers for Movies in the Garden: Every other Friday from July through September, catch O Brother Where Art Thou?, Field of Dreams, Secondhand Lions, Matilda, 50 First Dates and Finding Nemo while noshing on goodies from Willow Creek Grill. Tickets are $5-$7.
Sun Valley Writers' Conference
Sun Valley Resort: svwc.com
What do Dave Barry, Justice Stephen Breyer, Neal Conan, David Epstein, Scott Turow and Yiyun Li have in common? They'll all be at the Sun Valley Writers' Conference, a four-day literary house party. This year, 28 writers, stars of stage and screen, and other personages with yens for the written word descend on Sun Valley. You can go, too, but tickets are pricy: A full-conference pass is $850, and includes special sessions with visiting speakers and food. Single-event passes are $20.
San Inazio Festival
Basque Center: basquecenter.com
Boise's Basque community is so active it has its own block. Little did many Boiseans know that community, which has long historic ties to Boise, has its own patron saint, as well--Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The Basque Block will celebrate Ignatius' life and legacy July 25-27, with local musicians, dancers, athletes and, of course, Basque food. In the past, entertainment has been courtesy of music ensemble Txantxangorriak, Oinkari Basque Dancers and Amuma Says No.
Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic
Ann Morrison Park: spiritofboise.com
Early risers across the Treasure Valley are rewarded for a few days each summer as brilliantly colored hot air balloons lift above a sea of trees and buildings, catching morning sunshine while offering their riders majestic views of Boise. That's the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic, which takes place this year from Aug. 27-31. Each morning at 7:10 a.m., between 15 and 50 balloons will inflate and launch from Ann Morrison Park. If you're not a morning person, you can still check out the Nite Glow event taking place Saturday, Aug. 30, at Ann Morrison, where glowing balloons illuminate the park.
Art in the Park
Julia Davis Park: boiseartmuseum.org
From adirondack chairs and wind chimes to original glassworks and paintings, Art in the Park is where makers of all kinds gather to show their wares--and where people from all across the Treasure Valley go to mingle, check out the art and partake of food truck fare. One of the largest arts events of the year, it will bring more than 200 creatives to Julia Davis Park Sept. 5-7.
Hyde Park Street Fair
Camel's Back Park: northend.org
The Hyde Park Street Fair doesn't take place in Hyde Park. It's not even particularly bound to a street, but every year, Boise's North End neighborhood gets together to ring out the summer. With booths aplenty--including everything from home solar power advocacy to massages--a spacious beer garden, food trucks and a slew of live music acts (last year, Built to Spill made an appearance), it's hard to beat the smell of french fries and churros wafting across Camel's Back Park. This year the fair takes place Sept. 13-15.