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Bakersfield, California

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Bakersfield in California.

 

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Bakersfield is a city at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County, California, United States. It is roughly equidistant between Fresno and Los Angeles, 110 mi (180 km) to the north and south respectively. Bakersfield is the 11th fastest growing city in California.

In 2008, the city's population was estimated to be 322, 818, making it the 11th largest city in California and the 58th largest city in the United States according to U.S. Census estimates. The Bakersfield Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) has a population of 800, 458 making it the 63rd largest metropolitan area in the country. It is California's third largest inland city, after Fresno and Sacramento. The city's economy relies on agriculture, petroleum extraction and refining, and manufacturing.

Arts and culture

Many of Bakersfield's oldest and most historic restaurants are Basque, including Woolgrowers, Maitia's, Noriega's, Pyrenees, Benji's, and Narducci's.

The Kern County Museum, located on Chester Avenue just north of downtown Bakersfield, boasts an extensive collection of regional artifacts. Permanent exhibits include: "Black Gold: The Oil Experience", a hands-on modern approach at showing how oil is extracted; and "The Lori Brock Children's Discovery Museum", a hands-on children's museum and a display on the influential "Bakersfield Sound" style of country music.

Events

Bakersfield hosts horse shows all year round, including local, 4H, and breed shows.

Every spring, Bakersfield hosts one of California's Scottish Games and Clan Gatherings. In the late summer, the local St. George's Greek Orthodox Church hosts an annual Greek Festival.

Every year during the summer, Bakersfield hosts the Lowrider National in the Kern County Fairgrounds.

Memorial Day weekend features the Kern County Basque Festival, sponsored by the Kern County Basque Club. This three-day festival features food, music, dance, and handball games.

In March, Auto Club Famoso Raceway holds the annual March Meet nostalgia drag racing event. The event dates back to the U.S. Fuel and Gas Finals held in March 1959.

Twice a year, the CSUB Indigenous Native American Club hosts a Native Gathering on the California State University Bakersfield campus at Runner Park.

In mid to late September Bakersfield holds the annual Kern County Fair, which showcases the area's agricultural produce and animal husbandry, along with a rodeo, concerts, and a traditional carnival.

Previously every year and now every five years, Bakersfield hosts a political conference known as the Bakersfield Business Conference. Since 1985 this conference has grown in attendance and as of 2007 the attendance numbered over 9, 000. The Conference has had several notable political speakers to include Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, George Bush, Margaret Thatcher, Neil Armstrong, Norman Schwarzkopf, Colin Powell, Mike Wallace, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Rush Limbaugh and Paul Harvey.

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