An estimated 8,000 High Desert residents helped celebrate Hesperia's 20th birthday at the city's new civic park last weekend.

The City of Hesperia threw its own birthday party, celebrating 20 years of cityhood, on June 28, at the new Hesperia Civic Park, located behind city hall and the library.

"It was a great, great event," said Mayor Mike Leonard at Tuesday's meeting of the Hesperia City Council.

Thousands of residents showed up to honor Hesperia's military service personnel and veterans, hear live music, sample competition barbecue and enjoy bounce houses and other children's games.

Council members praised the hard work and long hours put in by city staff: even city attorney Eric Dunn spent part of Saturday night picking up trash left behind by revelers.

"It was bigger and better than my expectations ever could have been," said Councilwoman Rita Vogler.

"It was a great, great show," said Councilman Ed Pack.

Hesperia formally became a city on July 1, 1988.

"Happy birthday to Hesperia," said Councilman Thurston "Smitty" Smith, "And happy birthday to the United States, which is 232 years old on Friday."

And they're already thinking about doing it again next year, although perhaps not so large scale.

"Barbecuers ... they can't wait to come back here next year," Smith said.

The next meeting of the Hesperia City Council will be held on July 15 at 6:30 p.m. in Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com.