Get your calendar ready for all the fun events happening this May in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia’s Blue Ridge!

It’s a fantastic month for live music and there are also plenty of fun festivals celebrating all kinds of unique interests, including BBQ, international cultures, dulcimers, even a love of all things Harry Potter!

Let’s get to our preview of 30 of the biggest events happening this May in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

1. Barenaked Ladies

Date: May 2
Location: Harvester Performance Center
The Grammy nominated Canadian rock band will perform at the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount on Tuesday, May 2. The group is known for hit songs such as “One Week,” “It’s All Been Done,” and “Pinch Me.” The Barenaked Ladies also recorded the theme song for the television show The Big Bang Theory.

2. Salem Red Sox Baseball

Salem Red Sox Baseball

Date: May 4-7, May 15-22, May 31
Location: Haley Toyota Field at Salem Memorial Ballpark
Get out the baseball glove and get ready for a fun night at the park with the Salem Red Sox! The Sox schedule is full of home games this month, including a big home stand from May 15-22 with a four game series against Frederick followed by another four game series against Myrtle Beach. 

3. Artemis Launch 2017 - Nikki Giovanni

Date: May 5
Location: Taubman Museum of Art
Artemis kicks off its 24th journal with guest speaker and distinguished poet Nikki Giovanni. The purpose of the journal is to showcase art and literature in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and it creates a space for contributors to introduce their work alongside professional artists and writers. The 2017 journal will feature 100 artists and writers from the Blue Ridge Mountains and beyond.

4. "H.M.S. Pinafore"

New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players
Date: May 5
Location: Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech
New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players present the classic tale of the H.M.S. Pinafore at the Moss Arts Center at Virginia Tech. The show provides music, laughter and fun live action as it follows a cast of characters on a British naval vessel.

5. Southern Culture on the Skids

Date: May 5
Location: Harvester Performance Center
Get ready for a rock & roll party at the Harvester with Southern Culture on the Skids. The North Carolina band brings its eclectic mix of alt/surf/experimental rock to Virginia’s Blue Ridge for what should be a fantastic live show. 

6. "Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!"

Roanoke Children’s Theatre
Date: May 5-7
Location: Jefferson Center
A singing elephant and dancing pig? The kids will love the Roanoke Children’s Theatre production of "Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!" The show is based on the award-winning children’s book Elephant & Piggie, written by Mo Willems. 

7. Community School’s Strawberry Festival

Community School Strawberry Festival

Date: May 5-6
Location: Elmwood Park
We celebrate all things strawberry at the annual Community School Strawberry Festival in Elmwood Park. The two day festival will feature strawberry shortcakes, strawberry sundaes, chocolate dipped strawberries, and strawberry smoothies, as well as live music, arts and crafts, and more.

8. Smith Mountain Lake Beer & BBQ Festival

Date: May 6
Location: Downtown Moneta
Sample classic styles of BBQ from eight different vendors and enjoy 60 craft beers offered by 20 craft breweries at the Smith Mountain Lake Beer & BBQ Festival in Moneta. Enjoy all the delicious flavors of beer and BBQ while you also listen to live music provided by local bands.

9. Roanoke 2017 Pokemon Regional Championships Tournament

Date: May 6-7
Location: Berglund Center
Pokemon players and fans from around the Southeast will make their way to Virginia’s Blue Ridge to take part in the Regional Championships Tournament at Berglund Center, May 6-7. The tournament is open to players of all ages and skill levels, and it’s free to attend for spectators.

10. Wednesday Night Disco Mountain Bike Race

Disco Mountain Bike Race - Mill Mountain

Date: May 10, 17, 24
Location: Mill Mountain Park
The popular mountain bike race series is back for another year of fun in Mill Mountain Park! Hosted by Play Roanoke, the Disco Race is a ride on Mill Mountain’s awesome trails where costumes are encouraged. You’ll also make new friends afterward over great beer, live music, and good eats.

11. #FBF Dave Matthews Tribute Band

Date: May 12
Location: Dr Pepper Park at The Bridges
May 12 will be a night of jamming in Dr Pepper Park at The Bridges with The Dave Matthews Tribute Band. The 6-piece ensemble travels the country providing fans the opportunity to hear the sounds of the Dave Matthews Band with a classic style and sound that mimics the original artists while also improvising some additional grooves. 

12. Flat Pickin’ Fridays - Seven Mile Ford & Mason Creek

Date: May 12
Location: Daleville Town Center
The signature summer concert series is back for more fun in 2017 at Daleville Town Center. Flat Pickin’ Fridays kicks off on Friday, May 12 with a show featuring Seven Mile Ford and special guest Mason Creek for a great night of country and bluegrass music. The event will also offer kid-friendly activities, craft beverage, and local food trucks.

13. “My Fair Broadway”

Roanoke Symphony Orchestra
Date: May 12
Location: Salem Civic Center
The Roanoke Symphony Orchestra is partnering with four talented Broadway stars for an incredible night of music at the Salem Civic Center. The concert will feature selections from hit Broadway shows My Fair Lady, Camelot, Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, and more, showcasing many of the best works of Lerner & Loewe.

14. Gallop 4 the Greenways & Adventure Triathlon

Date: May 13
Location: River’s Edge Sports Complex
It’s time to run, bike and paddle! This annual fundraiser for the Roanoke Valley Greenways will take place at River’s Edge Sports Complex and features an adventure triathlon, four mile run, kids fun run, and greenway walk, providing opportunities for attendees of all skill levels to participate! 

15. Roanoke Harry Potter Festival

Roanoke Harry Potter Festival

Date: May 13
Location: Downtown Roanoke
The magic of Hogwarts is coming to Virginia’s Blue Ridge for the Roanoke Harry Potter Festival! It will be a full day of exciting Harry Potter themed events, including end of term feasts, mystery clue games, a yule ball, and quidditch match! Witches and wizards of all ages are encouraged to attend.

16. Buchanan Garden Festival

Date: May 13
Location: Buchanan Town Park
The Buchanan Garden Festival is the place to be to find annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs and flowers for your garden. You can also get new ideas and tips from gardening professionals who will be on hand, as well as pick up other unique products and goods from local arts & craft vendors.

17. Christopher Cross

Date: May 17
Location: Harvester Performance Center
Christopher Cross burst onto the music scene in 1980 with his self-titled debut album that earned him five Grammy Awards, including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year (“Sailing”), and Best New Artist. For a career that has spanned over 30 years, Cross is known for his adult contemporary music and sophisticated ballads.

18. "The Mousetrap"

Date: May 18-26
Location: Attic Productions
Attic Productions presents “The Mousetrap” - the longest running show in the world. The story is a murder mystery play written by Agatha Christie that tells the tale of guests stranded in an English guesthouse by a snowstorm. Which one is the murderer? You’ll have to see the play to find out!

19. Delta Rae with Lauren Jenkins

Date: May 19
Location: Harvester Performance Center
If you’re a fan of Americana and folk rock, check out Delta Rae with Lauren Jenkins on May 19 at the Harvester Performance Center! The group has played music festivals such as Bonnaroo, Tortuga, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits, and will make a stop in Virginia’s Blue Ridge as part of its 2017 Summer Tour, featuring the band’s new single “A Long and Happy Life.”

20. Franklin County Ramble Weekend

Date: May 19-21
Location: Blackwater River & Pigg River
It’s three days of paddling, floating and fun on the Blackwater River and Pigg River in what has become one of the most popular annual events in Franklin County! The weekend will also feature a night float, live music, food, outdoor games (including the popular rubber duck race), demo pools and a 5K race.

21. Local Colors Festival

Local Colors Festival

Date: May 20
Location: Elmwood Park
Get to know the incredible diversity we have in Virginia’s Blue Ridge at the Local Colors Festival in Downtown Roanoke. This annual event celebrates cultures from around the world with over 100 ethnic traditions that are part of the region. There are also unique performances, music, and more than 50 vendors serving authentic international cuisine.

22. Adult Big Wheel Relay Race & Night Rider’s Ball

Date: May 20
Location: Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill
The Adult Big Wheel Relay Race is back for its second year in Downtown Roanoke! You’ll feel like a kid as teams of three race around a closed course in the heart of the city over six fun-filled laps. When you’re not racing, hang out at the Night Rider’s Ball at Martin’s Downtown Bar & Grill, which will offer great food, drinks and live music. Ride your bike and you get in free! This is the perfect way to celebrate May being National Bike Month.

23. Vinton Wine & Food Festival

Date: May 20
Location: Explore Park
The 8th annual Vinton Wine & Food Festival is expanding and moving to the nearby Explore Park this year to make room for more vendors, which means more food and wine! Live music will be provided by Big ‘Ol Boys and even if you’re not a fan of wine, there will be some “wheat and barley” options available. Cheers! 

24. Under The Streetlamp

Date: May 20
Location: Salem Civic Center
Head back to a different era with a night that will feature old time rock & roll, motown and other classic sounds by Under the Streetlamp at the Salem Civic Center. The quartet includes cast members from the Tony Award winning musical Jersey Boys, and it’s been described as a modern-day Rat Pack.

25. The Crooked Road Dulcimer Festival

Date: May 25-27
Location: Blue Ridge Institute & Museum
The Crooked Road Dulcimer Festival is one of the best ways to learn about the rich musical history and heritage of the region. The event is organized by the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum and it’s become an annual gathering of dulcimer players. A dulcimer is a fretted string instrument with origins in the Appalachian region of the country.

26. 7th Annual Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ Festival

Date: May 26-28
Location: Chantilly Farm Campground
It’s an amazing lineup for the 7th annual Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ Festival. The show will feature performances by The SteelDrivers, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, the Lonesome River Band, and many more! Guests are invited to also bring their own instruments for jam sessions, including new Midnight Campfire Jams.

27. Bela Fleck & Chris Thile

Date: May 26
Location: Harvester Performance Center
The Harvester Performance Center will be the sight of an incredible night of folk and bluegrass music on May 26 as it hosts Bela Fleck and Chris Thile. Thile is a multi-time Grammy Award winner and is well known for his work with Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers. Fleck, also a multi-time Grammy Award winner, is regarded as one of the premier banjo players in the world.

28. Roanoke Festival in the Park

Date: May 26-28
Location: Elmwood Park
Festival in the Park is a popular Memorial Day tradition in Virginia’s Blue Ridge! It’s only $10 for a weekend pass to the three day festival that will include over 50 performances on four different stages. The show is headlined by Blue Oyster Cult and also features local bands like Erin & The Wildfire and Gasoline Alley. 1964 the Tribute, a Beatles tribute band, will perform on Sunday, May 28.

29. 611 Excursions to Downtown Roanoke

Date: May 27-29
Location: Downtown Roanoke
The iconic Norfolk & Western Class J611 steam locomotive will power her way through Virginia’s Blue Ridge with multiple passenger excursions over Memorial Day Weekend. Morning and afternoon trips will depart and arrive in Downtown Roanoke, with The Pocahontas trips traveling to Walton, while The Powhatan Arrow heads to Lynchburg. Visit the FireUp611.org website for more information.

30. Remembering Their Sacrifice

Date: May 29
Location: National D-Day Memorial
Visiting the National D-Day Memorial is a powerful way to honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day. The Memorial will be hosting an event and ceremony recognizing those that have sacrificed to protect our nation’s freedom, and the keynote speaker will be Herschel “Woody” Williams, one of only six surviving World War II Medal of Honor recipients.


This is just a sample of the events happening in the region this month. Check out our Calendar of Events for a complete list of events in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

For more information, be sure to follow us on Social Media, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, and request a free copy of our Visitor’s Guide.