Bernie Sanders speaking to a crowd in Santa Monica. (Danny Freeman / via Twitter)

The California primary is only eight days away, and Bernie Sanders isn’t slowing down.

If anything, the 74-year-old Vermont Senator is picking up the pace as he tours California this week, stopping at as many as three cities a day for rallies and events.

On Monday night, Sanders held a rally on the football field of Santa Monica High School in Santa Monica, Calif. The Sanders campaign estimated a turnout of 10,000 people — and the numbers may have swelled to more than that, considering the vast numbers of people who turned up but couldn’t fit inside the football field. Sanders told ABC News that he hopes to speak with “200,000 Californians at rallies statewide.”

“It was really incredible to have the opportunity to see Sanders speak on my own high school campus,” Ben Ross, a senior student at Santa Monica High School, told Truthdig. “That’s an opportunity that is so rare, and I’m so grateful for it.”

Lines wrapped around the high school, and it wasn’t just Angelenos who turned out to see Sanders speak. “Arizona here for Bernie!” one woman in line said.

Actress Rosario Dawson, who had introduced Sanders at a rally in East Los Angeles earlier in the day, appeared onstage again in Santa Monica. She told the crowd that the Democratic Party’s plea for party unification was an attempt to get voters to conform.

Actor Dick Van Dyke introduced Sanders to the crowd but not before reminding them that Sanders’ age shouldn’t keep him from getting votes. “I’m 90,” he reportedly said, “and I like to give young politicians like Bernie a chance.”

Sanders’ age has been brought up throughout his campaign, especially in light of the fact that he overwhelmingly draws young people to his campaign. Many of his supporters argue that it’s his message, not his age, which makes him more relatable than younger candidates. “When Bernie spoke, it felt like he was talking directly to me and wanted me to succeed in this world,” Ross said of the candidate’s appeal. “He’s just so passionate, it was beautiful.”

When Sanders finally took the stage, it was to tumultuous cheers and chants. He spoke for over an hour on issues that he has focused on throughout his campaign: health care, education and income inequality.

College tuition was also a topic of the evening, considering the event was held on a high school campus with a number of college-bound supporters in attendance. “Why are we punishing people for doing what they should be doing?” he asked the crowd, before explaining that as president, he would ensure that the middle-class didn’t struggle to afford college.

Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, the crowd of thousands remained inspired and energetic. “It felt like every person in the crowd was trying to lift each other up, not push each other down,” Ross said of the rally.

Check out Truthdig’s documentation of the rally on Evrybit below (with photos and videos courtesy of Truthdig contributor Bill Blum.)

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