Bakersfield’s altruistic side mightily emerges this weekend. It starts Thursday at the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame where the American Cancer Society kicks off its inaugural Valley of Hope benefit event. It’s a bookend for the Valley of Hope Gala that the ACS holds in October and a lively lead-in for the Relay for Life season that starts April 13-14 with Relay For Life in Delano and continues May 4 with the Bakersfield event.
The excellent Southern California Queen tribute band Queen Nation will perform and they look, sound and act like the real deal, which is no small feat. Net proceeds from the concert after expenses will go directly to the ACS.
Lara Weberling, development manager for the Bakersfield American Cancer Society, is in charge of both Valley of Hope events and she finds a parallel between Queen’s music and her foundation’s tenacious search for a cure.
“I think there are so many great anthems that Queen provides us to overcoming our battles and finding our inner strength and confidence,” Weberling said.
“We wanted the opportunity to partner with the Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame and provide a platform for a wonderful outing. (One) that gives people a fun night out here on the town but also helps provide funding for our cause and our mission.”
There’s no denying that Queen has made a huge jump back in the spotlight thanks to last year’s Academy Award-winning biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.” And the most important facet of the movie — besides reacquainting modern audiences to their music — is in acknowledging just how powerful of a live band they were. You don’t need to rely on pyrotechnics when you have a Freddie Mercury.
“We have seen a lot of dads that say, ‘I’m buying this ticket for my daughter or for my son because they just saw the movie and they just discovered Queen and now they’re so excited,’” Weberling said.
“So, it’s pretty cool seeing this new generation of fans, and this being an opportunity to see a Queen show, which we can’t do anymore.”
As someone touched by cancer in his own family, I nominate the especially fitting “We Are The Champions” for the official fight song of the night and “These Are the Days of Our Lives” for those who’ve passed on. Tickets are $75, $140 for couples. A bit steep, but it’s for a good night for a good cause with one heck of a soundtrack.
On Saturday morning, the CASA of Kern County (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children) will host its seventh annual Superhero Run/Walk & Festival at the Park at River Walk.
According to the CASA of Kern County website, more than 500 runners and walkers are expected to attend, and they’re all encouraged to dress up as their “inner superhero.” Each participant will be given their choice of a cape or a T-shirt, so go ahead and indulge yourself; say “yes” to the cape and feel that rush getting to the finish line.
Really neat family-friendly activities abound including music, raffles, a superhero costume contest, villains to chase (!!), photo opportunities and more. Food vendors will be available at the event as well as a vendor that will give treats and water to dogs. Yes, you can dress up and bring your dog as well.
Don’t feel like running or walking? Volunteers are welcome. Visit Kerncasa.org to see what’s available or just show up at the event and say you want to help, proving that sometimes half the work in being a hero is in just showing up.
And finally, Jerry’s Pizza will host the third annual Autism Awareness Benefit on Sunday, an event spearheaded by Richard Deval, a local DJ and frontman for his namesake cover band The Deval Project. It’s a cause close to Deval’s heart who has a niece and nephew with autism.
This is the event’s first year at Jerry’s Pizza and Deval intends on making the venue and show itself a sensory-friendly environment for people with special needs. That includes accommodating lighting and volume levels. All proceeds from the all-ages show will be donated to benefit The Autism Society — Kern Autism Network.
The two bands performing will be the reunited The Deval Project and La Marcha. The DJ list includes Noe G, Phat E, Deval’s fellow Darkside DJ Josex and rapper Icon, The Phantom Stranger (who will also perform at the CASA event the day before), Kinetic Distortion and Michael Hart.
Valley of Hope Benefit Concert with Queen Nation, 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Bakersfield Music Hall of Fame, 2230 Q St. $75, $140 for couples; tickets can be bought at valleyofhopegala.org and at the local American Cancer Society, 1831 Truxtun Ave. Suite 150. cancer.org.
Seventh annual CASA Superhero Run/Walk & Festival; sign-ups at 6:30 a.m., 2K run starts at 8:30 a.m., 5K at 8:15 a.m.,10K at 8:10 a.m. Saturday, Park at River Walk, 11298 Stockdale Highway; $20 for children 12 and under, $30 for the 2K walk/run, $35 for the 5K and 10K. kerncasa.org.
Richard Deval's third annual Autism Awareness Benefit, 2-8 p.m. Sunday, Jerry’s Pizza, 1817 Chester Ave. $10, $5 for kids under 12, free admission for kids under 5 and for those with autism.