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COVID-19 canceled a lot of local traditions, the Annual Basque Crawl won't be one of them

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Posted at 6:19 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 22:25:10-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — The pandemic has prompted the cancellation of several traditional events in Kern County, but the Pyrenees Cafe is making sure the Annual Basque Crawl isn't the next victim.

If you've ever been to one of those Basque Crawls, you know they can be absolutely packed as you go from one Basque restaurant to the next, but in the middle of a pandemic, Pyrenees Cafe says the experience will be a little different, but just as fun.

"This year it's going to be quite a bit different. Instead of it being like Basque Crawl, it's going to be more like Basque Dinner," said Julie Crawford, co-owner, Pyrenees Cafe.

There are some Bakersfield traditions that even a pandemic can't stop.

The Basque Crawl has been a staple in Bakersfield for years, held on the day before Thanksgiving annually.

"It's a great time to get together and see other friends that you've seen grow up in high school and went separate ways in college come back here. It's your grassroots," said Rusty Burchfield.

Unfortunately, several famous basque restaurants won't be able to participate this year, the pandemic put Noriega's Hotel out of business, and Wool Growers Restaurant is temporarily closed due to COVID. Luigi's is still part of the mix for the festivities Wednesday, and so is Pyrenees Cafe.

Crawford says the pandemic has been a challenging time for them too, as she's already been forced to close down one of her businesses. The cafe is her and her husband's last stand.

"We watched our bank account go from 70 something thousand dollars down to 750 dollars in two weeks, it just was, we finally just shut down the restaurant and then we put a bunch of our own money back in because we have all these bills from the month before."

Crawford says the community has been the reason they are still in business.

"That's the reason we are afloat, is our customers. Everyone has been so supportive of us."

On Wednesday at 5 p.m., Crawford says the cafe is going to show their appreciation. All CDC guidelines will be followed.

Tables will be socially distanced on the patio, masks will be required until guests are seated, and reservations are recommended ahead of time.

"I think as long as people social distance tomorrow and wear masks, it will be just as successful as years past," said Burchfield.

"Everyone's just going to be able to relax and enjoy themselves," said Crawford.

If you'd like to participate, the owners say to call ahead of time for reservations.