Fruit Yard Am­phithe­ater Cel­e­brates Grand Open­ing

The Oakdale Leader - - FRONT PAGE - BY VIR­GINIA STILL vstill@oak­dale­

The warm late sum­mer evening pro­vided a pleas­ant set­ting as cars were rolling into the Fruit Yard on Fri­day night, Aug. 24 for the in­au­gu­ral con­cert at the out­door venue. Peo­ple from through­out the Cen­tral Val­ley made their way to the newly con­structed am­phithe­ater to hear the up­lift­ing, spir­i­tual sounds of Amy Grant that tran­scended through the coun­try­side. The spa­cious lawn area was per­me­ated with fans and their chairs and blan­kets. The venue holds ap­prox­i­mately 3,500 peo­ple in­clud­ing seat­ing on the lawn and in avail­able seats.

Con­tem­po­rary Chris­tian mu­sic artist Tim Tim­mons opened the show as the sun slowly be­gan to de­scend and dusk set­tled in. Con­cert go­ers were still fil­ing in and by the time Grant hit the stage the venue was about two-thirds full. Prior to Grant com­ing on, Fruit Yard owner Joe Traina wel­comed the crowd and thanked ev­ery­one for at­tend­ing the first con­cert at their new am­phithe­ater.

Taking the stage with a full band that in­cludes a key­boardist, gui­tarists, backup singers, and a drum­mer, the sun had fi­nally set and the mul­ti­col­ored lights lit up the stage as Grant started singing. She joined the band play­ing gui­tar as well and en­gaged the au­di­ence, hav­ing them sing part of a cho­rus as the lights turned away from her to the crowd.

In between songs, Grant would talk to the crowd and men­tioned that she was en­joy­ing watch­ing a lit­tle girl dance at the top of the lawn area at the back of the venue as the al­most-full moon con­tin­ued to rise. The soft-spo­ken artist treated the ap­pre­cia­tive crowd to a smile through­out the en­tire per­for­mance.

The light­ing, the sound sys­tem, the open­ness of the stage and the seat­ing made the first show at the Fruit Yard worth watch­ing.

There were ven­dors at the event that of­fered ket­tle corn and other re­fresh­ments in­clud­ing beer, wine, Star­bucks iced mocha, soda, and wa­ter. Some food op­tions that guests could en­joy were tri-tip or pulled pork sand­wiches, bur­ri­tos, or a chicken salad.

Billy Co­hen with Richter En­ter­tain­ment Group in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Fruit Yard pre­sented guests with the con­cert on Fri­day night and hopes to bring more na­tional acts to the Fruit Yard Am­phithe­ater.

“I am ex­tremely proud of the Fruit Yard and Richter En­ter­tain­ment Group teams,” noted Co­hen. “Ev­ery­one worked hard and well to­gether. We had a very good show day. It was very cool to see Joe Traina’s vi­sion come to life. Spe­cial shout out to Joe’s wife, Melissa, who ran the back­stage cater­ing, de­li­cious.”

With the first con­cert, Co­hen ex­plained that it is al­ways a learn­ing curve that they take note of to en­sure cer­tain things do not oc­cur at fu­ture shows; how­ever, over­all the event ran smoothly.

“I feel very hon­ored to be able to be part of open­ing a beau­ti­ful new venue,” said Co­hen. “It is re­ally spe­cial to do some­thing that gen­uinely con­trib­utes to the com­mu­nity. Amy Grant and Tim Tim­mons were both charm­ing and touched to be the first artists at Fruit Yard and both gave won­der­ful per­for­mances. Not sure who’s next, but I look for­ward to many amaz­ing shows at the Fruit Yard in the years to come.”


Grammy Award win­ning artist Amy Grant opened the new Fruit Yard Am­phithe­ater shar­ing her faith based, up­lift­ing mu­sic with the au­di­ence.


The grand open­ing of the new Fruit Yard Am­phithe­ater oc­curred this past Fri­day night. The new venue can hold ap­prox­i­mately 3,500 peo­ple.

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