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Bakersfield, CA (Population: 295,536)

Nicknamed California's Country Music Capital, Bakersfield has a population of 295,536 (2005). Originally settled by the Yokuts Indians, the city grew quickly due to the oil industry which is still active today. Agriculture is also important to the area. The California Cooperative Association, located in Bakersfield, is one of the oldest and largest farming co-ops in the country. Grimmway Farms and Bolthouse Farms are one of the biggest carrot-growing operations in the world. Other important crops include citrus fruits, pistachios, potatoes, wheat, garlic, almonds and table grapes.

Although much of historic Bakersfield was lost in the aftershocks of a 1952 earthquake, the Kern County Museum houses many regional artifacts. Among their permanent displays are the exhibits: Black Gold: The Oil Experience and Bakersfield Sound. Bakersfield is second only to Nashville in recognition in the country music scene and Buck Owens' Crystal Palace continues to be a respected and popular concert venue.

The city is home to Bakersfield College and California State University at Bakersfield. The city does not have any professional sports teams, but there are several minor league teams as well as a wealth of amateur sporting events. Motor sports are popular in Bakersfield, as are off-road vehicles. Each year in March the Auto Club Famoso Raceway holds the March Meet, an event that dates back nearly 50 years. Other popular annual events include the California Scottish Games and Clan Gathering, The Bakersfield Jazz Festival and a Fall Craft Show.