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Fruit Yard Amphitheater Celebrates Grand Opening
Grammy Award winning artist Amy Grant opened the new Fruit Yard Amphitheater sharing her faith based, uplifting music with the audience. Virginia Still/The Times
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Owner of the Fruit Yard and the new amphitheater, Joe Traina, welcomed the audience at the inaugural concert at the venue on Friday, Aug. 24. Virginia Still/The Times

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.”