Looking for family-friendly events to celebrate the holiday season? Look no further than the city of Roanoke. From Hometown Holiday magic to a tree lighting with the mayor, Roanoke has events for all ages to celebrate the season.
Diane Rice, Roanoke’s marketing and events coordinator, said the first special holiday event is Hometown Holiday and will take place Dec. 3.
“That one is especially magical for families,” she said. “There’s an all-day street festival, and we close down our historic Oak Street. This year, we’ll be having ice skating, a sledding hill and pictures with Santa, plus karaoke and more—the list goes on of all of the fun, free activities.”
Rice said the street festivals are usually very well-attended in Roanoke, with anywhere from 10,000-25,000 guests. For local businesses, this is a great opportunity to partner with the city as a sponsor or vendor.
“It’s a great opportunity for businesses to be able to get in front of our community and let people know what they do,” Rice said. “We just want to be able to serve our community and provide fun family, safe events for people to come and enjoy.”
Rice said vendor applications open about 8-10 weeks prior to each festival.
“This is one of those things that sells out very quickly because our festivals are so well-attended,” Rice said. “People do really well and they sell out pretty quickly. So if somebody is interested, they definitely can hop on our website, send us an email, and we'd love to chat with folks about opportunities.”
Rice said there is something special about Roanoke this time of year.
“Roanoke has this really amazing balance of having small town charm, but big city feel,” she said. “What I love especially here during the holidays is the way we light our streets. And I know that sounds like such a simple thing, but there's something about coming to this beautiful southern town and seeing hundreds of people on the street having dinner or listening to music. It's like something out of a postcard.”
For those looking to say hello to Santa while also celebrating first responders, there is another special event taking place on Dec. 10: Roanoke’s First Responders Breakfast with Santa.
The event is a collaboration between the Roanoke’s Special Events Department, Police and Fire Departments and, of course, Santa Claus. The event is perfect for families who are looking for an extra special way to celebrate the season.
During the event there will be a local performing arts group that sings and dances, breakfast will be served, and Santa comes around to every table to greet guests and take photos.
The breakfast event will feature three seating times: 9 a.m.,10:30 a.m. and noon. Tickets for the event are $10 and are available for pre-purchase only. The breakfast will take place at the Chop Shop at 309 S. Oak Street, Roanoke.
And Christmas isn’t the only time the city pulls out all the stops. In fact, Roanoke residents can look forward to 11 annual events throughout the year.
The events include:
February 10, 2023 Roanoke’s Family Valentines Dance
February 11, 2023 For the Love of BBQ
April 1, 2023 Eggapalooza
April 1, 2023 Farmers Market (26 weeks)
April 13, 2023 Evenings on Oak Street Concert Series (6 concerts- every other Thursday through June)
May 6, 2023 Roanoke RoundUp
July 3, 2023 All American Fireworks and Festival
October 14, 2023 Celebrate Roanoke
November 4, 2023 Veteran's Day Parade
December 2, 2023 Roanoke's Hometown Holiday
December 9, 2023 First Responder's Breakfast with Santa
“Our goal is to make as many of these events as possible completely free to the public, especially our street festivals, because we don't want money to be a reason that somebody can't come and enjoy Roanoke,” Rice said.
Each of the city’s events are planned with care by the Special Events Department, and Rice said dates are set 12-18 months in advance. On the actual day of the event, all hands are on deck.
“There isn’t one department in the city that doesn’t help us in some way,” Rice said. We all make sure our events are safe and fun, that people feel welcomed, and like this is a great environment for them to bring their families. We couldn't do [these events] without the rest of our departments.”
In addition to the list of large-scale events, Rice said there are also some boutique events planned outside the special events department including a Fishing in the Park event in March, and a Fire Department Open House in October.
Plus, residents also have the opportunity to host private events by filling out a private events packet or apply to have a new event take place in Roanoke.
“We are constantly looking for new things to add, and our City Council is very supportive of us having continued fun, family, free events in Roanoke,” Rice said. “We're very open to suggestions and if we can make it work we'll keep adding to that annual list.”
Roanoke is also the Unique Dining Capital of Texas, which means each of the events show off the city’s wide variety of incredible food, Rice said. The city boasts over 60 unique dining options.
“As we see our community grow and our businesses grow, we anticipate adding more restaurants to our already existing options. And we have almost every different kind of food that you can imagine here, so there are plenty of options for people to try something new every week.”
For more information about vendor booths, upcoming events or booking a private event with the city, visit the city of Roanoke website here.
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