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Fresno, CA (Population: 461,116)

Fresno, California is the seat of Fresno County and the largest of the cities in California's Central Valley. Although surrounded by agricultural communities, Fresno has seen significant growth recently, having become the economic center of the Central Valley. Food manufacturing has grown in the area with companies such as Sun-Maid and Kraft Foods. Machinery manufacturing, medical devices and water technology are also important economically. Well-known areas in Fresno include Sunside, Old Fig Garden, and the Tower Garden.

Fresno's location in Central California puts it at a convenient location to visit the major recreation sites in the area. Fresno is about 100 miles from Yosemite National Park, King's Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Park. This location also makes it a gateway for visitors to these parks. There are several large public parks within the city itself, such as the Woodward Park which features the Shinzen Japanese Gardens; and the Roeding Park which features the Chaffee Zoological Gardens. Home to the largest annual Civil War reenactment in the US, Kearney Park is the largest park in Fresno and is also home to the historic Kearney Mansion. The Forestiere Underground Gardens aren't to be missed - how often do you see subterranean gardens?

On the second Friday of each month Fresno Filmworks presents independent, foreign and art films from around the world at the historic Tower Theater. There is also a three day annual film festival in May each year. Another film festival, the Fresno Reel Pride is one of the oldest and biggest LGBT film festivals in the US. This festival takes place at the Tower Theater each September and runs for five days. Another fun festival in Fresno is the Rogue Festival which celebrates independent artists and performers. With dance, film, theater, music, spoken word, storytelling and more, this festival is similar to a Fringe Festival with a little something for everyone.