On Saturday, Grand Valley locals will have the chance to support Fruita businesses with Supper on Southside, an outdoor celebration of local restaurants, live music and, of course, social distancing.

The event is set in the middle of Kokopelli Plaza and will have around 10 restaurants selling their food, and live music from the local band Rizzo. Outside food is also allowed.

The $5 ticket guarantees entry and a table, while people are expected to pay for the food.

“We know how heavily impacted restaurants were by COVID-19, most of them saw income drop by 40-50%,” said Kayla Brown, executive director of the Fruita Area Chamber of Commerce. “So we wanted to find a way to help them out and have something for the community to do.”

Supper on Southside and Fruita Fall Weekend, which will take place on Sept. 25 and 26, were born out of the ashes of Fruita Fall Fest.

The community staple for over a century was canceled in late July because the chamber did not think it would be able to protect public health well enough, Brown said.

After that decision was made, planning for Supper on Southside began almost immediately.

The chamber has taken numerous precautions to protect public health from COVID-19. The night will be staggered into two, 90-minute dinner shifts to limit how many people are in the area at once.

The first is from 5 p.m. — 6:30 p.m., and the second begins at 7 p.m. and ends at 8:30 p.m. Strayhorn Grill, Rib City Grill and Pablo’s Pizza will have designated tents for customers. But if someone is in the mood for other nearby restaurants, they’ll be to get takeout and bring it into the general tent.

To reserve a spot, people must register online and provide their names and addresses. Per guidelines from the Mesa County Health Department, large gatherings must be for locals only.

There are still plenty of tickets available for the events, which have an occupancy cap of 130 people, Brown said.

The chamber wanted to host the event in the south side of town to highlight the locals there.

“Most of our events are downtown, so this is also an opportunity to have more of a presence in the south side of town,” Brown said. “It’s often seen as a commercial area but we have a lot of great local businesses there, too.”

Munchies Pizza & Deli, located at 550 Kokopelli Drive, is one of those nearby businesses that can benefit from the exposure.

Kim Searcy, owner of Munchies, is grateful for the event. Though Munchies won’t be one of the featured vendors, it’s close enough for anyone wanting takeout for the event.

The COVID-19 pandemic cut business income by 40-50%, she said.

Munchies has rebounded and is back to normal business. She thinks that because most of the businesses featured are local, there’s more of an obligation to come out and support it.

“Several of these businesses are not major chains,” Searcy said. “They’re your neighbors.”

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