The city of Vacaville, California, is located in the northern section of California's great Central Valley. First settled in 1852, the city's early growth was fueled largely by the railroad industry. Vacaville was incorporated as a city in 1892. The population of Vacaville is approximately 92,000 inhabitants.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Vacaville enjoys a solid mix of agricultural, commercial, governmental and technological industries.
The agricultural industry still thrives in Vacaville, despite the recent closing of the area's onion processing plant and with it, the demise of the city's renowned Onion Festival. Locally grown crops include a variety of fruits and nuts, and the city is home to a number of packing and processing plants.
The biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries are developing rapidly in Vacaville, to the extent that the local community college has begun offering an associate's degree in biotechnology.
Novartis International AG, Genentech and ALZA Corporation are among the numerous major companies headquartered in Vacaville. All these companies have helped the economic development of the city.
The city's top employers are Genentech Inc., Westrust-Nut Tree, Vacaville Human Resources Department, Mariani Packing Company, Vacaville City Hall, Vacaville City Manager and California Medical Facility.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
The visitors and the residents of the city have great opportunities to visit the nearby Lake Tahoe and the Napa wine country. The city contains more than 29,000 condos; most of them are owner-occupied, although more than one third are rented houses.
Historic Downtown Vacaville features dozens of restaurants and other local businesses. The area hosts nearly a hundred art and music performances throughout the year in Vacaville's Town Square, Farmers Market, and Creekwalk Plaza. Downtown is also the site of many local events, such as the Merriment on Main Christmas celebration, 4th of July Celebration, and Oktoberfest.
- Travis Air Force Base: Located just south of the city limits, this prestigious air force base is a significant contributor to the local economy. Known as the "Gateway to the Pacific," Travis has the highest-volume military terminal for both cargo and passenger traffic in the United States. Operational base personnel include more than 7,000 active-duty military, 4,000 military reservists and 3,700 civilians, making it among the largest employers in Solano County.
- California State Prison, Solano: This medium-security state prison is also one of the area's leading employers.
- California Medical Facility: This comprehensive medical care facility tends to the needs of seriously ill inmates from throughout the state of California.
- The Vacaville-Elmira Cemetery: This cemetery dates to the early years of the city's history. It's particularly noteworthy for the Japanese design found on several of the gravestones. During World War II, Vacaville's substantial local population was dispersed due to forced relocation, and few returned to the Vaca Valley afterwards. The Vacaville-Elmira cemetery is one of the few visible reminders of their presence. A special "Japanese" section features markers adorned with kanji characters engraved in stone.
- The Vacaville Museum: Located in the Victorian district of historic downtown, the Vacaville Museum details the history, culture and development of the Solano County region. The museum offers interpretive exhibits, docent programs, lectures and workshops.
- Jelly Belly Factory: Located a short trip away in nearby Fairfield, this confectionary wonderland is a favorite with Vacaville residents and visitors. The factory allows visitors to tour the candy-making process and study "Beanology" at Jelly Belly University.
- Vacaville Cultural Diversity Fair: This annual multicultural event includes an international food court, as well as vendors offering cultural wares. One fun, interactive exhibit is "Passport to the World," in which visitors receive a passport and then have fun having it stamped as they progress throughout the various countries represented in the Fair.
- Fiesta Days: This festival commemorates Vacaville's rich heritage and history, from the city's inception from a Spanish Land Grant, to today's vibrant semi-rural municipality. At this weeklong celebration, events include a parade, a family fun zone, a putting contest and golf tournament, a classic car show, and even a "Whiskerino" contest where men are challenged to see who can grow the best and/or longest beard.
- Lagoon Valley and Pena Adobe Regional Park: The centerpiece of this park, the Pena Adobe Home, is registered as a California Historic Landmark, and is believed to be the oldest remaining building in Solano County. Constructed in 1842, it underwent recent renovation and is open one day each month for tours. Lagoon Valley, part of the regional park, offers outdoor enthusiasts ample spots for hiking, fishing and non-motorized boating. It also features family-friendly activities such as horseshoe pits, multipurpose playing fields and a 30,000-square-foot, fenced-in, dog park. Abundant wildlife can be found in the area, including the occasional mountain lion.
- CreekWalk: Situated in downtown Vacaville, Creekwalk was designed to bring the community together through a program of ongoing outdoor concerts. Performances generally take place during the summer months.
- Solano Community College: Founded under the name Vallejo Community College in 1945, this two-year institution now offers classes on two campuses, the main one in Fairfield and a satellite campus in Vacaville.
- University of California-Davis: Part of the prestigious University of California system and a top public research university, nearby UC-Davis is known for its life sciences and agricultural programs. It is the largest campus in the UC system.