PHOTO GALLERY: ‘Silent Night’ to mark 200th anniversary

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(AP) “Silent Night,” one of the most famous songs of the Christmas season, is being celebrated as it approaches its 200th anniversary. Written and sung in Austria in December 1818, the song was first performed in the U.S. in 1839 at the Hamilton Memorial on the church’s grounds by an Austrian family of traveling singers.

PHOTO GALLERY: Foggy morning envelops valley and greets the return to work, school

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Portions of the valley were enveloped in fog Monday morning as commuters returned to school and work following the Thanksgiving holiday.

PHOTO GALLERY: Christmas tree lighting at Centennial Plaza

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Bakersfield city officials kicked off the holiday season with a tree lighting Saturday in Centennial Plaza before the Condors game. The event featured a live Nativity scene and two special guests: Santa and Mrs. Claus.

PHOTO GALLERY: Holiday shopping begins

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Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, accounting for an estimated 10 percent to 15 percent of annual sales for major retailers. Stores have rolled out online and in-store discounts gradually, while shoppers have prepared by researching deals ahead of time and planning their moves.

PHOTO GALLERY: Britain’s illuminated garden

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(AP) An illuminated trail through Britian’s Kew Gardens is part of a magnificent after-dark landscape that will be lit up by over one million twinkling lights. The spectacular light and sound installations run from Nov. 22 through Jan. 5, 2019.

PHOTO GALLERY: Explosion in front of AT&T building in downtown Bakersfield

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An explosion from an underground transformer rocked a busy part of downtown Bakersfield in front of the AT&T building at around 5 p.m., Tuesday evening. 

The Bakersfield Fire Department quickly put out the flames, but power went out for a few blocks in the surrounding area.

No injuries were reported. Pacific Gas and Electric had not determined the cause of the explosion as of 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.

PHOTO GALLERY: Some people may start their holiday travel early

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As the holiday travel season begins many people may start the trip early to avoid the dreaded Wednesday travel day.

PHOTO GALLERY: Bakersfield Marathon

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There was a big turnout for the third annual Bakersfield Marathon on Sunday. The route took runners from Cal State Bakersfield to Bakersfield College and back.

PHOTO GALLERY: Bakersfield police investigators dig for evidence along Houghton Road

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Bakersfield Police Department investigators excavated a piece of land just east of Highway 99 at Houghton Road Thursday in what the agency described as an active investigation.

About a dozen officers in plain clothes wearing rubber gloves were seen using screens to sift through dirt. A backhoe and a Bobcat were also in use. The work started at 7 a.m., BPD Public Information Officer Brian Holcombe said. He declined to say what investigators were looking for.

PHOTO GALLERY: Ag mechanics program at Bakersfield College

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Bakersfield College’s new mechanized agriculture program hosted an informational event Wednesday aimed at building industry involvement. The two-semester certificate program, now in its first year, had hoped to persuade local employers to offer unpaid internships to its 20 students now learning to maintain, repair and safely operate tractors and other commonly used heavy farming equipment.