Seasonal Events and Festivals in Roanoke

festive celebration in Roanoke with seasonal elements

The Roanoke Region in Virginia’s Blue Ridge is a hub of exciting seasonal events and festivals that celebrate the area’s unique culture, heritage, and love for outdoor activities. From music lovers and foodies to outdoor adventurers and holiday enthusiasts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy throughout the year. Below is a list of our popular annual events that have become synonymous with the region.

Key Takeaways

  • Downtown Roanoke hosts signature events like Festival in the Park and Festival of Local Colors, celebrating the region’s diverse cultures.
  • Salem is known for its annual Salem Fair and Olde Salem Days, offering family-friendly fun and entertainment.
  • The Roanoke GO Outside Festival in October brings together outdoor adventurers for gear demos, races, and camping.
  • Holiday spirit comes alive with Dickens of a Christmas and Illuminights at Explore Park, featuring parades, light displays, and festive activities.
  • Food and drink enthusiasts can indulge in events like the Strawberry Festival, Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival, and Roanoke Wing Fest.

Festival in the Park

The Festival in the Park is one of Roanoke’s most anticipated events, bringing together a vibrant mix of music, art, and family-friendly attractions. Held annually in Elmwood Park, this festival offers something for everyone, making it a must-visit for both locals and visitors.

Salem Fair

The Salem Fair is a must-visit event that takes place annually in Salem, Virginia. Running from July 3, 2024 to July 14, 2024, this fair offers a variety of attractions and activities for all ages. The fair closes each night at 10pm, so make sure to check the event website for a detailed schedule. Admission is free, making it an affordable outing for families and friends.

Olde Salem Days

festive street market in Roanoke during Olde Salem Days

Antique Car Show

One of the highlights of Olde Salem Days is the Antique Car Show. Car enthusiasts from all over gather to showcase their beautifully restored vintage vehicles. It’s a trip down memory lane as you stroll through rows of classic cars, each with its own unique history.

Craft Booths

The event features a wide array of craft booths where local artisans display their handmade goods. From intricate jewelry to custom woodwork, there’s something for everyone. It’s the perfect place to find a unique gift or a special keepsake.

Live Entertainment

Live entertainment is a staple of Olde Salem Days. Enjoy performances from local bands, dance troupes, and solo artists throughout the day. The lively atmosphere and diverse acts ensure there’s never a dull moment.

Roanoke GO Outside Festival

Outdoor adventurers come together every October for the Roanoke GO Outside Festival. This annual three-day celebration of everything outdoors in Virginia’s Blue Ridge is a must-visit event for nature enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike.

Dickens of a Christmas

Holiday Parades

Experience the magic of the holiday season with the Dickens of a Christmas parades. These parades are a highlight of the event, featuring beautifully decorated floats, marching bands, and festive characters that bring joy to all attendees. It’s a perfect way to kick off the holiday celebrations in downtown Roanoke.

Carolers and Performers

Stroll through the streets and enjoy the sounds of traditional holiday carolers and performers. The atmosphere is filled with cheerful melodies and lively performances that capture the spirit of Christmas. From street performers to scheduled acts, there’s always something to entertain and delight.

Christmas Market

The Christmas Market is a must-visit during the Dickens of a Christmas event. Here, you can find a variety of unique gifts, handmade crafts, and delicious treats. It’s a great opportunity to support local artisans and find special items for your loved ones. The market adds a charming touch to the festive atmosphere, making it a key part of the holiday experience.

Dickens of a Christmas is not just an event; it’s a culinary tour of Roanoke: explore seasonal food festivals, cooking classes, local markets, artisan foods, unique desserts, coffee culture, guided food tours, southern comfort food, elegant dining, wine pairings, and special occasion restaurants in downtown Roanoke.

Illuminights at Explore Park

Light Displays

Experience the magic of the holiday season with dazzling light displays that transform Explore Park into a winter wonderland. Wander through illuminated trails and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Holiday Treats

Indulge in a variety of delicious holiday treats that will warm your heart and satisfy your sweet tooth. From hot cocoa to freshly baked cookies, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Family-Friendly Activities

Bring the whole family for an evening of fun-filled activities. Kids can enjoy crafts, games, and even a visit from Santa Claus. It’s the perfect way to create lasting holiday memories.

Don’t miss out on this enchanting event that brings the community together to celebrate the joy of the season.

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Shamrock Festival

Downtown Roanoke is host to one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on the East Coast featuring a festive parade, live music, and adult beverages. We kick off the spring season with the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Shamrock Festival, a celebration that has earned Roanoke the reputation of being one of the best cities in the U.S. to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Blue Ridge Marathon

Marathon Route

The Blue Ridge Marathon is renowned for its challenging and scenic route. Participants will traverse through the beautiful landscapes of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, offering breathtaking views and a test of endurance. The marathon is often referred to as America’s Toughest Road Marathon due to its elevation changes and demanding course.

Runner Support Stations

Throughout the marathon, there are numerous runner support stations providing hydration, energy gels, and medical assistance. These stations are strategically placed to ensure runners have the necessary support to complete the race. The community’s involvement in these stations highlights the local commitment to the event.

Post-Race Celebrations

After crossing the finish line, runners and spectators can enjoy the post-race celebrations. These festivities include live music, food trucks, and a variety of entertainment options. It’s a great way to unwind and celebrate the achievement of completing such a grueling race. Roanoke’s craft beer trail also offers unique brewery experiences for those looking to relax and enjoy a local brew.

Strawberry Festival

Strawberry Treats

The Strawberry Festival in Elmwood Park, Roanoke, is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. Festival highlights include delicious shortcakes, sundaes, and chocolate-dipped berries. You can also buy desserts to take home and enjoy later.

Live Music

Enjoy live music performances that add a festive atmosphere to the event. The tunes provide a perfect backdrop as you explore the various artisan and sponsor areas.

Children’s Activities

The festival is family-friendly, offering a range of activities for children. From face painting to fun games, there’s something for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Voted one of "Southwest Virginia’s Best Festivals" by Virginia Living magazine, the Community School’s Strawberry Festival is one of Roanoke’s most popular and well-known events. It signals the beginning of summer and the festival season for residents of the Roanoke Valley.

Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival

Wine Tastings

The Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival is a paradise for wine enthusiasts. With a wide array of local wineries showcasing their best selections, visitors can indulge in delightful wine tastings. The event offers a unique opportunity to explore the art and culture scene in Roanoke, as each winery brings its own distinct flavor and story.

Local Food Vendors

Foodies enjoy food & drink delights at the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival. The festival features a variety of local food vendors offering delicious pairings to complement the wines. From gourmet cheeses to delectable desserts, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Live Music

Adding to the vibrant atmosphere, the festival hosts live music performances throughout the event. Guests can relax and enjoy the tunes while sipping on their favorite wines. The combination of great music, excellent wine, and tasty food makes for an unforgettable experience.

The Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival is a must-visit for anyone looking to enjoy the best of what Roanoke has to offer. The blend of local flavors, music, and the beautiful lakeside setting creates a perfect day out for all.

Beaver Dam Farm Sunflower Festival

The Beaver Dam Farm Sunflower Festival is a must-visit event for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike. Held annually in September, this festival is renowned as the largest sunflower festival on the East Coast. Visitors can explore vast fields of sunflowers, creating a picturesque backdrop for memorable photos.

Roanoke Wing Fest

Wing Eating Contests

One of the most exciting parts of the Roanoke Wing Fest is the wing eating contests. Participants compete to see who can devour the most wings in a set amount of time. It’s a thrilling spectacle that draws a big crowd every year.

Live Bands

The festival also features live bands that keep the energy high throughout the day. From rock to country, the music adds a vibrant backdrop to the festivities, making it a must-attend event for music lovers.

Craft Beer Selections

Pair your wings with a selection of craft beers from local breweries. The variety of beers available ensures that there’s something for every palate, enhancing the overall experience of the festival.

Mark your calendars for this year’s Roanoke Wing Fest – August 24. It’s go time for a day filled with delicious wings, great music, and refreshing craft beers!


Roanoke and its surrounding regions truly come alive with a vibrant array of seasonal events and festivals that celebrate the unique culture, heritage, and community spirit of Virginia’s Blue Ridge. From the bustling streets of Downtown Roanoke, where signature events like Festival in the Park and Festival of Local Colors take place, to the charming small towns and scenic spots like Smith Mountain Lake, there’s always something exciting happening. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, or someone who loves to immerse themselves in local traditions, Roanoke offers a festival for everyone. So, mark your calendars and join us in celebrating the rich tapestry of events that make this region so special. We can’t wait to see you there!

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the Festival in the Park held?

Festival in the Park is typically held in May/June in Downtown Roanoke.

Where can I find information about the Salem Fair?

The Salem Fair is held annually in Salem, Virginia. For more information, you can visit their official website or contact local tourism offices.

What activities are available at the Roanoke GO Outside Festival?

The Roanoke GO Outside Festival features outdoor gear demos, adventure races, camping, and bonfires.

Are there any holiday-themed festivals in Roanoke?

Yes, Dickens of a Christmas and Illuminights at Explore Park are popular holiday-themed festivals in Roanoke.

What can I expect at the Strawberry Festival?

The Strawberry Festival offers a variety of strawberry treats, live music, and children’s activities.

Is there an event for wine enthusiasts?

Yes, the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival features wine tastings, local food vendors, and live music.

What makes the Blue Ridge Marathon unique?

The Blue Ridge Marathon is known as America’s Toughest Road Marathon and features a challenging route, runner support stations, and post-race celebrations.

Where can I experience sunflower fields in Roanoke?

You can experience sunflower fields at the Beaver Dam Farm Sunflower Festival, which also offers photo opportunities and local artisan vendors.

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