Various local collectors and vendors came together for the Bakersfield Underground Collectors Outdoor Monthly Meetup

Father daughter duo Mario Saldana and Maria Saldana sell their Hot Wheel collection.

Charr Davenport, Reporter

The Bakersfield Underground Collectors Outdoor Monthly Meetup was held Saturday, Jan. 30, outside of Downtown Toys-N-Comics despite COVID 19 concerns. The gathering went from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and featured various local collectors and vendors. Funko Pops, Hot Wheels, action figures, and tamarind based rim dips were just some of the items being sold.
Crystal Quintero, owner of the food-based business Lenguas Venenosas, was among the vendors, selling and giving away free samples of her homemade tamarind based rim dips. While she had sold at other events, this was her first time at the Bakersfield Underground Collectors Outdoor Monthly meetup.
Among the vendors was also Devin Radney, a “collector of everything” for the past 27 years and a vendor for the past year. Radney stated that he liked the purpose of the monthly meetup. “Everybody is into the same stuff, so it works.”
Javier Bautista, the organizer of the monthly event, is also a collector and vendor. “We’ve been doing this for 6 to 7 months,” according to Bautista. To abide by guidelines, the event was held outside and every vendor was required to wear a mask, Bautista explained.
Though not every vendor actually wore a mask, the majority of vendors practiced forms of COVID 19 safety precautions. “As long as we’re safe, we’re okay,” said Steven Trejo, who shares a vending booth with Victoria Briano. David Juarez, an employee for Bakersfield Underground & Collectables, explained that as long as he wears a mask and carries hand sanitizer, he is not too worried.
Chris Guadarrama, another vendor, said he was not worried at all about COVID 19. “Most people wear a mask and most vendors have hand sanitizer,” he explained.
However, Jim Gillis, owner of the new collectible shop KRRJ Collectables, expressed concern over COVID 19 but also felt the event was needed despite concerns. “We are outdoors and that helps out. People need to feel like they’re human beings.”
According to the Kern County Public Health Department as of Feb. 2, there have been 94, 467 total resident cases in Kern County, with 32,229 of them being recorded as recovered. There have been 624 resident deaths.