After the success of the last Grub and Grooves, the event is coming back for a second go.
From 5 p.m. until 9 p.m. this Thursday in the green space at the corner of Washington and East 10th Streets, Grub and Grooves will bring food trucks and free live music in an attempt to liven up downtown Junction City.
According to Military Affairs Council Director Craig Bender who is one of the main organizers of the event, the food trucks include the Chef and I, Fluffy Freeze, Filipino Cuisine, Hot Rodz BBQ, and Big Boyz food trailer.
The band that played at the last event, Denims and Lace, will again provide the free music. Pets are not allowed at the event and people are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs.
Bender said there was some concern about the weather — there’s a 50 percent chance of rain the day of the event, which could keep some potential attendees away.
But he hopes to see at least 250 people come out — the same number estimated to have attended the first event in August — and maybe event more.
“We’re just trying to build on the first one,” Bender said. “We did the first one as a test to see if the want was out there for a thing like this and it seemed like it was.”
The event was supposed to take place last week, he said, but the Geary County Health Department encouraged them to hold off due to COVID-19 numbers.
But they ran the numbers, Bender said, and determined it would be safe enough for the gathering to take place.
“We got the approval late last week to go ahead and do it,” he said.
City Commissioner Nate Butler who also serves on the MAC advisory board is also involved in the event.
“We’re asking those folks that come out to use physical distancing, and to, if they’re not eating, please wear a mask. That's what we're asking them to do. We've got hand sanitizer stations, hand washing stations and restrooms and that out there as well. (We’re )trying to prepare to or good evening.”
The hope is to hold another Grub and Grooves in October if COVID-19 restrictions allow, possibly stop for the winter — or move it indoors if possible — and bring the outdoor event back come spring.
“The goal is to get people to say, ‘you know what, this works down here, I think,’” Butler said. “It’s another way to bring folks downtown to help with the future of revitalizing downtown.”
Butler encourages people to attend, whether they stay and listen to the music or just buy food and leave.
The event mirrors an idea by Junction city business owner Todd Godfrey, who proposed a food truck court to the city last year in the same spot Grub and Grooves is being held. Godfrey’s proposal, which included the sale of the land for $1 and the foundation of a charity organization by Godfrey in connection with the business, was ultimately rebuffed by the city.
“He had a plan that was drawn up for the food trucks to be brought into that area,” Butler, who was not on the city commission at the time of the proposal, said. “It was a good idea — I thought it was a good idea.”
The city had questions, though, and had wanted to put the land up for bid.
Though the proposal went no further when no one bid on the land, Bender felt it was a good enough idea for the MAC to test it out by holding the event which took place in August. Godfrey has taken part in the planning of Grub and Grooves.
Bender said he and other community members had been looking to bring something to that lot — which has been sitting empty for years — and he finally decided to just do something.
“I said, ‘well, instead of just planning of six months, why don’t we just do something and we can learn from our mistakes?’” Bender said. “We’ve just kind of gone from there."