Bakersfield is a city in Southern California, United States near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in Kern County. The city is 110 miles north of Los Angeles and about the same distance south of Fresno. It is an inland city about 135 miles east of Pismo Beach on the Pacific Ocean. Bakersfield’s population is around 375,000, making it the 9th largest city in California and the 52nd largest city in the United States. The city is also the county seat for Kern County, which encompasses the entire MSA and is the third largest county in California by area. The total Bakersfield inner urban area, which includes East Bakersfield and Rosedale, has a population of about 464,000.
Bakersfield is in Kern County which is generally considered part of Southern California and shares its southern border with Los Angeles County. However, many residents consider Bakersfield to be more a part of Central California as it is near Kings and Tulare counties and is a hub for agriculture and oil production.
Bakersfield has a very diverse economy. Kern County is the most productive oil producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Other industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate/regional headquarters.
Bakersfield lies near the southern "horseshoe" end of the San Joaquin Valley, with the southern tip of the Sierra Nevada just to the east. The city limits extend to the Sequoia National Forest, at the foot of the Greenhorn Mountain Range and at the entrance to the Kern Canyon.To the south, the Tehachapi Mountains feature the historic Tejon Ranch. To the west is the Temblor Range, behind which is the Carrizo Plain National Monument and the San Andreas Fault. The Temblor Range is about 35 mile from Bakersfield across the valley floor.
Although the region hosts abundant green and leafy vegetation due to the hydrology of the Tulare Basin, Bakersfield has a desert climate (Köppen BWh), with long, hot, dry summers, and brief, cool, moist (but not wet) winters. In fact, Bakersfield enjoys more clear days than the majority of the U.S. (averaging 191 days a year). Bakersfield enjoys long-lasting, mild autumns, and warm springs, giving the region a unique climate suitable for growing a wide variety of crops (ranging from carrots to citrus, almonds, and pistachios). Rainfall averages only 6.5 in annually, mostly falling during winter and spring. Typically, no rain falls from May through September.
Summers have extended stretches of hot weather, with 108 days per year above 90 °F (on average between April 19 and October 12); in addition, 33 days are above 100 °F from late May to mid-September, and a 110 °F day can occur every few years. Winters feature mild daytime temperatures, but frost can be occasionally seen, often coming with dense tule fog and low visibility, causing many schools to have fog delays as long as three hours. The official time frame for tule fog to form is from November 1 to March 31. There are 12 nights with freezing lows (on average between December 13 and January 26) annually, and the coldest night of the year will typically bottom out below 30 °F.
Snow is rare on the valley floor; but it does snow in Bakersfield about once every 20 to 30 years. The last time it snowed was on January 25, 1999, when the city received 6 in. The record maximum temperature was 118 °F on July 28, 1908, and the record minimum temperature was 11 °F on January 3, 1908. The most rainfall in one month was 5.82 inches in December 2010, and the maximum 24-hour rainfall was 2.29 in on February 9, 1978.
Bakersfield’s historic and primary industries have related to Kern County’s two main industries, oil and agriculture. Kern County is the most oil productive county in America, with around 10% of the nation’s domestic production. Kern County is a part of the highly productive San Joaquin Valley, and ranks in the top five most productive agricultural counties in the nation. Major crops for Kern County include: grapes, citrus, almonds, carrots, alfalfa, cotton, and roses. The city serves as the home for both corporate and regional headquarters of companies engaged in these industries.
Bakersfield is known for the Bakersfield sound, "a twangy style of steel guitar music made popular by hometown country crooners Buck Owens and Merle Haggard."
Bakersfield is currently home to three minor league professional sports teams. They are: Blaze (Baseball, CL), Condors (Hockey, AHL), and Jam (Basketball, D-League). In addition, Bakersfield has two colleges with strong athletics programs. Bakersfield College Renegades is a community college with 19 varsity sports, the most notable being football. It competes in the Western State Conference, which is a part of the California Community College Athletic Association. California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners is a university with 15 varsity sports, the most notable being basketball. It is a part of NCAA division I and was just accepted as a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
Bakersfield is home to the largest carrot-producing operations in the world, Grimmway Farms and Bolthouse Farms.
In 2005 Garth Brooks proposed to then girlfriend Trisha Yearwood on stage at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. The proposal was televised to a national audience.