Lancaster is located approximately 70 miles north of Los Angeles and has a population of 134,000 (2005). The Palmdale/Lancaster Urbanized Area, however, has an overall estimated population of 480,238. The establishment of Lancaster as a city came with the advent of the aerospace industry. Lancaster is home to many employees of the Edwards Air Force Base, Boeing, Lockheed, and Northrop, the latter three having plants in the Antelope Valley. The influx of the booming aerospace industry's employees combined with people relocating to Lancaster from Los Angeles (known as “escapees”) made the first wave of Lancaster home buyers. Lancaster has since grown significantly in size and diversity, making it the large suburban city it is today.
Downtown Lancaster features historic buildings dotted among modern amenities including businesses, boutiques, and restaurants. The downtown area has recently undergone a revitalization geared toward the improvement of business facades and the attraction of new businesses. For those seeking a cultural evening out, the Lancaster Performing Arts Center showcases an array of community theater, classical music, and dance performances. It also attracts a multitude of celebrity singers, dancers, comedians, and musicians from all over the world. The city is also home to the Lancaster Aerospace Walk of Honor, a sidewalk monument recognizing significant achievements of test pilots who have been associated with the Edwards Air Force Base. Lancaster has a fifty-year tradition as the country's aerospace center and host city to world-renowned experimental test pilots.
Each spring, Lancaster hosts the California Poppy Festival, a two-day family event held in honor of the poppy, California's state flower. Taking place at Lancaster City Park, the event celebrates the coming of spring, poppy-filled hillsides, and warm breezy days. The festival features a glorious array of celebrated performers, animal and aquarium attractions, arts and crafts, an interactive theater, an international market square, mouth-watering delicacies, and so much more. The event originally began as an Earth Day celebration, but has grown into a festival with over 55 acres of activities. Another highlight of the Lancaster calendar year is “Celebrate Downtown Lancaster”, a street fair with family activities, musicians, and vendors. This entertaining community event takes place several times throughout the summer.