The tents are going up at Cal State Bakersfield and the tickets are just about gone, no surprise considering the Bakersfield Business Conference is a once-in-six-years extravaganza put together by George Martin, the city’s impresario of impresarios.

“There were 6,000 tickets this year, much less than in years past because of the configuration of the new dorms,” said local attorney Martin of the Oct. 8 event. “But we’re pretty well sold out. There are about 100 general admission tickets left.”

The speakers include some heavy-hitters and downright legends in the fields of politics, entertainment, sports and journalism: one-time GOP candidates for president Dr. Ben Carson and former governors Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal, as well as former governor Bill Richardson; actress Diane Keaton; basketball icon Magic Johnson and legendary college football coach Lou Holtz; media personalities Ann Coulter, Hugh Hewitt, Ruben Navarrette Jr., James Carville and Debra Saunders. Also slated to appear are NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, an outspoken critic of illegal immigration; and former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

The cost of a general admission ticket is $295 and can be purchased at bakersfieldbusinessconference.com. Gates open at 7 a.m. and the first speaker, comedian and political commentator Stephanie Miller, goes on at 8:30 a.m. The last speaker, a surprise guest, is set to go on at 5 p.m.

But whether they’re able to attend or not, readers will want to look for their copy of our glossy, 52-page guide to the Bakersfield Business Conference, inserted in the Oct. 1 edition of The Californian. The magazine-style guide will include bios of the speakers, entertainers and vendors scheduled to take part in the event at Cal State Bakersfield.

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