Celebrate Roanoke is the city’s largest annual festival, featuring unique food trucks, local artists and activities for all ages to enjoy. The festival averages 25,000 attendees and city officials are hoping to see more families enjoy all that Roanoke has to offer this year.

“It started in the parking lot of our community center,” said Diane Rice, Roanoke’s communications and public engagement officer. “It was kind of a bluegrass festival type feel. It's grown over the last 26 years into an eight block, all-day festival.”

Event highlights

Celebrate Roanoke will feature nearly 100 vendors, offering everything from artisan goods to food trucks and everything in between, Rice said.

This year’s festival will feature old favorite events and a few new activities as well. These new events include a drone show in the evening, an animal call competition and a rodeo.

The festival will feature music throughout the day, Rice said. This year’s headlining musician is Jack Ingram.

“Celebrate Roanoke definitely has the most opportunities for people to do things with their families for free,” Rice said.

Celebrate Roanoke offers many kid-friendly events such as a zipline, bounce houses, armadillo races, pony rides, petting zoos, chicken bingo and more.

“We also do pig penning, which is a family favorite,” Rice said.

Low-cost fun

The festival organizers are able to keep the event low-cost because of community support.

“Our city council is incredibly generous and it is one of their priorities to make sure that our community continues to get world class, family and free events,” Rice said. “Each year, our city council dedicates funds to our special events team so the community can enjoy free and low-cost street festivals and events throughout the year. In addition, we have great business and community partners who dedicate their time, and donate money, to assist with events.”

What attendees need to know

Rice recommended event attendees visit the City of Roanoke’s website in advance to review the parking and event map and plan their day out before visiting.

Rice said the festival is busiest right at the start of the event and toward the evening when the headlining artists perform.

“It’s important to build in some time to your day to make sure that you can find good parking,” she said. “We do not offer transportation for this event, but we will have as much free parking available as we possibly can.”

Festival history

Celebrate Roanoke is the city's longest-standing street festival. The City of Roanoke has many festivals throughout the year, but Celebrate Roanoke is unique, Rice said.

“It is the city’s only western-themed festival,” she said. “We partner a lot with our museum for this event and they do a great job of telling the story of Roanoke’s beginning and where we are now. We really get to show off what a great community we have.”

Although the festival has grown significantly over the years, Rice said Roanoke has done an amazing job of maintaining a small-town feel.

Worth the trip

Roanoke may be a bit of a drive for some Dallas-Fort Worth residents, but Rice said the festival is worth it.

“There are plenty of great things to do in Roanoke, even outside of the festival, so people really could make a day trip out of it,” she said. “I would encourage visitors to plan a trip and bring their families out. They are guaranteed a great time.”

Visit the city’s website to plan your trip to Roanoke and join the festivities.

The above story was produced by Multi-Platform Journalist Mary Katherine Shapiro with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.