There is a unique international flavor to the Roanoke Valley in Virginia's Blue Ridge, which you can experience at many of our amazing festivals.
International festivals in the region offer locals and visitors the opportunity to enjoy a variety of tastes, sounds, sites, and stories from around the world, and it's the perfect representation of the melting pot of cultures and people who call Virginia's Blue Ridge home.
Plan your next vacation around getting to take part in the diversity of Virginia's Blue Ridge by attending a few of these seven international festivals!
1. Local Colors Festival
For over 25 years, the Festival of Local Colors in Downtown Roanoke has highlighted the ethnic and cultural diversity of the region. Groups from over 70 different countries participate in this festival that showcases an incredible blend of music, crafts, attire, food, and the general spirit that connects people from the world.
As an organization, Local Colors hosts a variety of other events throughout the year to present the diversity of cultures in Virginia's Blue Ridge.
2. St. Elias Lebanese Festival
The Lebanese Festival has become one of the region's most popular annual traditions. Held every year the weekend after Memorial Day, the Lebanese Festival takes place at the St. Elias Maronite Catholic Church and is a celebration of Lebanese heritage, which has always held a unique connection to the City of Roanoke.
Join the fun of traditional dances set to live Lebanese music and prepare to enjoy a feast of authentic cuisine, including kabobs, falafels, tabouleh, and more.
For a few days every fall, the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church on Williamson Road transforms into the home of the Roanoke Greek Festival, which has been named one of the best food festivals in Virginia and offers "A Taste of Athens."
The strong Greek heritage of Virginia's Blue Ridge is highlighted at this multi-day festival that features authentic Greek cuisine, music, entertainment, tours of the Greek church, and even a half marathon. Waiting in line for the baklava is worth it - we promise!
There are multiple opportunities to celebrate Oktoberfest in Virginia's Blue Ridge! Between the Oktoberfest festival at Smith Mountain Lake, Oktoberfest block party at Martin's Downtown Bar & Grill, and the Big Lick Oktoberfest presented by Big Lick Entertainment, it's easy to take part in this uniquely German party!
Beer, German food, and fun music. What more could you ask for?!
5. Chinese New Year Celebration
In collaboration with Local Colors, the Taubman Museum of Art hosts an annual Chinese New Year Celebration. The beautiful museum in Downtown Roanoke offers the perfect setting for this unique Chinese tradition.
Visitors get a chance to experience martial arts performances, dragon dances, and other aspects of Chinese culture. Kids will also love having an opportunity to get to create things like origami, calligraphy, and Chinese puppets.
The Chinese New Year Celebration annually takes place between mid-January and mid-February.
6. St. Patrick's Day Parade & Shamrock Festival
The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Shamrock Festival is what earned the region a spot on Bustle's list of the Best St. Patrick's Day Cities in the United States.
Over 25,000 attendees join the fun of the parade that makes its way through Downtown Roanoke and numerous other events take place in conjunction with the parade, including a 5K fun run, Celtic music, and an abundance of great Irish food and beer.
7. Cinco de Mayo Festival
We know Cinco de Mayo is mainly an American holiday, but it certainly brings an international flavor to Virginia's Blue Ridge! Obviously, this annual festival takes place around May 5, and is hosted by Dr Pepper Park at The Bridges.
Whether you're dancing to the beat of the Latin music, participating in the sombrero contest, or chowing down on the amazing Mexican food, it's a fun fiesta for everyone!
Part of what makes this region a fantastic place to visit is that its heritage and culture have been shaped and enhanced by other cultures from around the world, and we hope you'll experience that culture during your next getaway.