Venue to open May 9 with schedule of concerts, events

ROANOKE, Va., (April 15, 2015) River Rock Entertainment, a Sponsor Hounds company, today announced that the new entertainment and event venue taking shape at The Bridges will be named Dr Pepper Park at The Bridges.

Country singer Ashley Monroe of Pistol Annies will be the first performer to appear at the new space, under construction as part of a $100 million project that is transforming South Jefferson Street into a vibrant community and entertainment hub.

“We are thrilled that a national consumer brand like Dr Pepper, which has historical ties to the Roanoke region, is the title sponsor of a place that is changing the landscape of entertainment in the region,” said Waynette Anderson, president and owner of Sponsor Hounds/River Rock Entertainment. “The naming rights sponsorship ushers in our first season of exciting events and musical acts.”

Monroe will perform on May 15 following a grand opening celebration on May 9. Upcoming events include Roanoke Wing Fest, August 22 and Woofstock Dog Festival, June 6. Many other events are being added, including a monthly music series, starting with Hump Day Hops, which will feature music and the release of a seasonal brew from a local craft brewery. The first Hump Day Hops will be May 20.

Sponsor Hounds also announced the Throwback Thursdays series featuring bands from the 1980s and 90s along with some tribute acts throughout the year.  The first Throwback Thursdays event will occur in late May or early June. 

A new website also was launched today providing full details: The website will sell tickets for Dr Pepper Park events. Guests will be able to purchase tickets in advance and bring them to the facility, where they can be scanned from mobile phones.  

Venue has space for 500 to 8,000 people

The 2.3-acre Dr Pepper Park, located adjacent to the Trolley Barn, will include space for customized events from 500 to 8,000 people, a stage for music and riverfront access set in a historic district.

“As the region’s leader in events consulting, promotion and management, Sponsor Hounds is delighted to further contribute to the Roanoke Valley’s outstanding quality of life while providing enhanced choices for entertainment and community events in a one-of-a-kind setting,” Anderson said. “Dr Pepper Park will be a permanent home for events, concerts and community engagement, enabling us to offer more flexibility to create memorable events and book additional musical acts, including local bands and underrepresented genres.”

In addition to the famous neon Dr Pepper sign downtown, the brand has ties to the region. Its co-founder, Wade Morrison, was originally from Christiansburg. He worked for Dr Charles Pepper at Dr Pepper's Drug Store in the 1870s. He left Rural Retreat for Waco, Texas, where he opened the Old Corner Drug Store, where he and his partner, Charlie Alderton, began selling a drink he named Dr Pepper.

“With the support of Dr Pepper, we can provide high-quality events and musical entertainment in a flexible outdoor setting and a unique new facility available for rent for companies and non-profit organizations,” Anderson said.

As part of the agreement with The Bridges, Sponsor Hounds will manage the space for outside rentals, including a new way for area non-profit organizations to raise money through events.

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