Everyone knows the main tent at the Bakersfield Business Conference is ground zero, the epicenter of the daylong event.
But when attendees roamed the grounds Saturday after maybe sitting a bit too long, they found lots of amenities dotting the perimeter that offered everything from snacks and fresh fruit to music and adult beverages.
“Your mind can only endure as much as your butt can absorb,” quipped Cheryl Wester, who came from Corona in Southern California to attend the event.
Wester, along with other friends from out of Kern County, escaped to the farmers market tent when she was enjoying a frozen strawberry La Rosa bar.
As the temperature climbed into the low 90s, Wester was hardly alone as scores of others also streamed into the shade structure to enjoy fresh grapes, apples, berries, bananas, salty snacks and frozen desserts.
“It’s been amazing,” Wester said of the event. “All the speakers have been great.”
The two women with her were from Anaheim Hills, and all three praised the conference as one of the best organized events they had ever attended.
Not everything was perfect, of course. The two lines for coffee at the McDonald’s kiosk were quite long Saturday morning, and lines for beer, wine and cocktails grew longer in the afternoon as the coffee lines shrank down to nothing.
Still, when‘s the last time you went to a rock concert that started on time?
Not many events the size of the Bakersfield Business Conference — which drew more than 6,000 guests, plus hundreds of volunteers and support staff — stay true to their schedules.
But the conference excels in this area.
Organizer Brandon Martin gave much of the credit to Technical Director Tom Bollard, who has a solid record of large events.
“But you still need a sound plan to implement,” Martin said.
As 4 p.m. rolled around Saturday, the sports tent was hopping. Filled with the aroma of hot popcorn and the sound of people chatting happily, the tent featured six large-screen TVs showing several college football games.
At the Bakersfield Family Medical Center first aid tent on the north side of the grounds, Registered Nurses Kathleen Kalfman and Danielle Kinoshita said most of the patients they had seen Saturday were exhibiting symptoms of dehydration and the headaches that can result.
“I don’t think they were rehydrating throughout the day,” Kinoshita said.
Others came in complaining of foot blisters, the price some paid for their reluctance to wear sensible shoes.
Like so many others at Saturday’s conference, Kalfman, Kinoshita and the entire staff at the tent were volunteers, donating their time and medical skills.
Noticing that a news reporter she was speaking with appeared to be a bit dehydrated, Kinoshita disappeared, returning a few moments later with a bottle of cool water.
Drink this, she said. And he did. Gratefully.