The calendar in Virginia's Blue Ridge stays busy with exciting events throughout the year. Visitors can jump right in to the fun by checking out the many festivals that highlight a variety of experiences, including music, wine, history, the outdoors, and our love of craft beer.
Many of the most popular festivals in the Roanoke Valley in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains take advantage of the beautiful outdoor event venues and fantastic weather the region boasts for most of the year. Combining the energy of a festival with a relaxing outdoor setting creates a perfect Blue Ridge Day!
Here are 10 of the area's best outdoor annual festivals to add to the calendar for your next visit to Virginia's Blue Ridge.
Date: June 3-4, 2016
With its designation as an official "AT Trail Town," the Town of Troutville hosts the annual Troutville Trail Days as a celebration of the local outdoor community and the Appalachian Trail thru hikers who make the grueling 2,200 mile trek from Georgia to Maine. The event, which is held in early June to coincide with when thru hikers are coming through the region, offers a collection of activities for hikers and visitors, such as a BBQ Cook-Off, concerts, and guided hikes.
2. The Horse & Hound Wine Festival
Date: July 9, 2016
Feel free to bring your dog to experience the fun of the annual Horse and Hound Wine Festival, which is held in July. The event takes place on the spacious grounds of Johnson's Orchards and Peaks of Otter Winery in Bedford County near the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. Horses, dogs, and wine are the main attractions, and it's a full day of exciting activities that will appeal to young and old.
Date: July 27-31, 2016
FloydFest is a multi-day summer festival in Floyd has grown into one of the premier music festivals in the United States. In addition to offering four days of outstanding live music that features some of the biggest names on the summer festival circuit, the setting in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains allows festival-goers the opportunity to connect with the peaceful surroundings through camping, yoga, massages, and nature walks.
Event Photo by Roger Gupta
4. Microfestivus Craft Beer Festival
Date: August 13, 2016
The Microfestivus Craft Beer Festival in Downtown Roanoke has grown to become one of the premier craft beer festivals in the Mid-Atlantic. Over 50 breweries from around the country participate in the summer event, offering attendees a chance to enjoy a rich sampling of unique brews.
5. Henry Street Heritage Festival
Date: September 17, 2016
The African American heritage of Virginia's Blue Ridge is expressed through performing arts, crafts, cuisine, customs and merchandise at the Henry Street Heritage Festival, hosted by the Harrison Museum of African American Culture in Elmwood Park. For over 25 years, the festival has introduced attendees to the rich diversity and heritage of Virginia's Blue Ridge through highlighting art and creativity.
6. Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival
Date: September 24-25, 2016
Held annually during the last weekend of September, the Smith Mountain Lake Wine Festival features over 25 wineries and the beautiful views of the lake known as "The Jewel of the Blue Ridge." The festival also incorporates the regional arts & culture with live music and numerous art & craft vendors.
Date: October 14-16, 2016
The outdoor culture of Virginia's Blue Ridge is proudly displayed at the Roanoke GO Outside Festival, held near the Roanoke River Greenway and at the base of Mill Mountain. This annual three day event takes place in October and provides visitors opportunities to enjoy an incredible selection of outdoor activities, as well as demo-ing new outdoor products and gear that can help you plan your next adventure.
Date: October 22, 2016
Immerse yourself in folklife history and heritage by taking part in the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival - held every October at the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum on the campus of Ferrum College. Festival participants share folklife traditions that have been passed down for generations, ranging from moonshiners and blacksmiths, to horse pullers and fiddlers. The festival has been held annually for over 40 years and has been described by The New York Times as "thoroughly authentic."
9. St. Patrick's Day Parade & Shamrock Festival
Date: March 2017
Recognized as one of the best St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the country, the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade & Shamrock Festival fills Downtown Roanoke with Celtic pride. Thousands of visitors line the downtown streets to get the best view of the parade before joining the fun of numerous Celtic celebrations that take place at the surrounding restaurants and bars.
10. Blue Ridge Kite Festival
Date: April 2017
Green Hill Park in Roanoke County provides the perfect setting for the annual Blue Ridge Kite Festival. Every April, the Blue Ridge Kite Festival is an exciting day of kite flying and fun for flyers of all skill levels. Many attendees bring their own impressive kite creations, while free kites are also available for those looking to learn more about this great, family-friendly activity.
Date: First Three Fridays in December
The holiday spirit is contagious at the Dickens of a Christmas festival in Downtown Roanoke! This annual celebration is held during the first three Friday nights in December and features a fantastic collection of holiday activities, including caroling, carriage rides, ice skating, and more.
What's your favorite local festival? Let us know by leaving a comment or reaching out to us on Twitter at @visitvbr!