Fruita’s Cavalcade offers opportunities for creativity & music |

Fruita’s Cavalcade offers opportunities for creativity & music

Fruita resident Kyle Harvey plays the piano with his stepdaughter, Paige Stickney. This outdoor art installation was conceived by Harvey to further develop Fruita's sense of community downtown.
Caitlin Row / | Free Press


WHAT: Fruita Fourth Friday Vinyl Party

WHERE: Cavalcade, 201 E. Aspen Ave., Fruita

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 28, 7 p.m.

INFO:; 970-260-5413

Cavalcade isn’t just a hyper-local music venue in Fruita; it’s also a community gathering place meant to inspire originality of all sorts. It was established in May of 2011 as a joint project between five Fruita families: Michelle and Johnny Cools, Cullen and Jeannine Purser, Sam and Carrie Benham, Ken and Rachelle Kreie, and Brendan and Autumn Clark Swihart. It’s located at 201 E. Aspen Ave., in Fruita, and it operates with an all-volunteer staff.

“We opened up a spot for people to come in, feel conformable, be creative and share creativity,” said Michelle Cools, a Cavalcade co-founder and owner of Fruita’s The Vintage Common.

Before Cavalcade, Mirth — a spot often referred to as Fruita’s living room — resided in the same location on Aspen Avenue.

“It was really just a place to hang out,” Michelle Cools said of Mirth. “It definitely planted the seed for what was to come.”

Cavalcade was born out of desire to continue that mission — to have a welcoming place for peers to engage in artistic self-expression spanning all ages, anywhere from 5 to 85 years old.

“When we first began we weren’t quite sure how to define ourselves,” Jeannine Purser said. “We were doing all sorts of random, wonderful things” — “from live interviews with interesting people in our community to open crafting nights held by Michelle Cools. Over time Cavalcade has come to define itself. Our specialty has become hosting incredible live music in a space dedicated to listening to the music presented.”

With a maximum capacity of 49 people, Fruita’s co-op performing arts center is both intimate and family friendly. It sells concessions (soda and candy, not beer). Plus, it’s involved with Fruita Fourth Friday art-walk events, open mics, tea and conversation gatherings (held the first Wednesday of each month), variety shows (which occur monthly on second Saturdays), and more.

Though many local musicians and poets perform at the Cavalcade, it also welcomes bigger name acts from outside the valley as well. For instance, The Ballroom Thieves — an alternative-style band from Massachusetts — will perform on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. For that reason, not just Fruita locals attend Cavalcade events. Folks from across the valley and even further afield travel for performances.

Admission is either free or very affordable to Cavalcade’s variety of events. Donations are always appreciated at the door.

“My favorite part about Cavalcade is how warm it is; it’s not intimidating,” Michelle Cools explained. “It’s a very comfortable place to express yourself and try new things. There’s so much talent crawling all over Fruita.”

According to Jeannine Purser, the small venue has also shaped Fruita’s nightlife scene over the last few years.

“I think Cavalcade helped spark the idea that something outside of a restaurant or office could exist in downtown Fruita,” she explained.

Thad V’Soske, a Cavalcade volunteer, agrees with that sentiment.

“Compared to mid-2011, there are now more outlets for locals and visitors to enjoy their time and money in historic downtown Fruita,” V’Soske said. “ … Cavalcade is tremendous fun, a great place to be involved in the community, and a beacon of live entertainment that shines for the Western Slope. I still pinch myself just to know that it’s really happening right here in Fruita!”

For more information and a list of upcoming events, visit or find Cavalcade on Facebook.

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