Category Archives: Happenings

Kids Square in Roanoke!

The new Don & Barbara Smith Children’s Museum, Kids Square, is a space in downtown Roanoke located on the third floor inside of the Center in the Square. The fun museum is geared towards children ages 10 and under. The exhibits encourage play, education, and motor skills that are important for the development of children in this age range. Children over the age of 10, yes that includes adults, will enjoy their interactive exhibit and other areas within the Kids Square as well.

Let your child’s magic run free with carefully selected exhibits that are geared toward learning through play and discovery! The hands-on exhibits will include a miniature real-life town, a theatre, a building room and much more to be revealed at the grand opening celebration!

Join them for the Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Tuesday, August 15 at 10am in the Atrium of Center in the Square!

FloydFest 17: Freedom

Boasting one of the most dynamic lineups ever assembled for a multi-day world music festival, FloydFest 17~Freedom is set to deliver a truly engaging and diverse artistic experience along the magical Blue Ridge Parkway from July 26 to 30. Across nine+ stages over five days, FloydFest 17 welcomes more than 100 bands for its 17th installment, including Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Rising Appalachia, Leftover Salmon, Steel Pulse, Railroad Earth, Marty Stuart, and Xavier Rudd.

FloydFest is located at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and tickets are available by visiting FloydFest.com. Single- and multi-day general admission tickets are still available, with bundles available for camping. A small number of High-Roller, All-Access VIP tickets are also still available, along with additional ticket options for parking, camping, and outdoor adventure activities. Visit FloydFest.com for more information and to purchase tickets.

A recent recipient of top accolades from TIME Magazine and Fox News — and voted the 11th ‘Best Festival in the World’ and 2nd ‘Best Festival in the USA’ by FlightNetwork — FloydFest 17’s final artist lineup includes Thievery Corporation, Michael Franti, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Rising Appalachia, Leftover Salmon, Steel Pulse, Railroad Earth, Shovels & Rope, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Xavier Rudd, White Denim, Turkuaz, Fruition, Keller Williams+, TAUK, The Steel Wheels, The Hip Abduction, Larry Keel Experience+, HONEYHONEY, Vurro, BIG Something, Shook Twins, Baskery, Zach Deputy, The Mantras, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Fémina, That 1 Guy, Dave Eggar Band feat. Sasha Lazard, The Lil’ Smokies, People’s Blues of Richmond, Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey, Jack Broadbent, The Suitcase Junket, Black Masala, Hillbilly Casino, Urban Soil, Blue Mule, Che Apalache, Jordan Harman Band, M.C. Broom & the Jam, T Sisters, Banditos, Jon Stickley Trio, The Tillers, Alanna Royale, The Stash! Band, Strange Americans, Whiskerman, The Brother Brothers, Honey Island Swamp Band, Edward David Anderson, Dead 27s, Davy Knowles, McLovins, Hayley Jane and the Primates, Broccoli Samurai, The Drunken Hearts, Strange Machines, Trae Pierce & the T-Stones, Liver Down The River, Sol Searchers, GOTE, Black Mountain Revival, Lobo Marino, PLF; Galax to Floyd Pickers: David & Mason Via, Aaron Woody Wood, Blake & Jamie Collins, Gina Sobel, Mason Via & Hot Trail Mix; EchoMix Artists: Konrad Kuechenmeister, Boib Funck, JANXX, Brain Hill, Dead Sea Sparrow, Kendra Warren, King Django, John DeCarlo, Gyorgy De Val; Mama Said, The Get Right Band, The Mallett Brothers, Villa*Nova, Dharma Bombs, The Folly, South Hill Banks, Seph Custer & the Papa Tom Band, Chris Ross & the North, Morgan Wade & the Stepbrothers, Mad Iguanas, Claire Hitchins, Bryan Elijah Smith & the Wildhearts, Jaewar & Vibe Riot, The Wildmans, Fernandez Sisters, Einstein’s Monkey, Girls Rock Roanoke, Community High School Band, Jefferson Center Music Lab, Mike Mitchell Trio, Dixon’s Violin; FloydFest Buskers: Brad Collier, Waiting to Exhale, Fason & Cannaday, Seph & TK, Will & Jodie Norton, Flirting with Chemicals; Nicki Calhoun, Howard Falco, Miss Kitty’s Cosmonauts, Lunaversal.hoopz, Oakely the Greenman, 1000 Faces Mask Theater, Ambrosia Farms Puppets, Magician of Life, Becky the Balloon Lady, Gravity Check Juggling, Gypsy Geoff and more.

The unforgettable magic that was FloydFest 16’s Buffalo Mountain Jam returns in 2017 for its second-annual installment. Known for its impromptu artist collaborations, super jams and special guests, the Buffalo Mountain Jam will evoke a ‘freedom’ unique to the 17th annual event—not to be missed.

“The Buffalo Mountain Jam is extremely important to witness — it’s a capstone of the festival, spotlighting ‘new-school newgrass,’” Hodges said. “It’s a free-form jam that speaks to the quality of the musicians that make it happen … a jam that speaks to freedom.”
As always, FloydFest will also include vibrant and varied vendors, quality craft brews and chews, healing arts, workshops and whimsy, children’s activities, onsite art installations and a final lineup featuring more than 100 artists performing on nine+ stages.

FloydFest is located at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, Va. Detailed directions, tickets, and additional information are available by clicking to www.floydfest.com.
For more information, call (888) VA-FESTS or email info@floydfest.com . Find FloydFest on Twitter @floydfest, Instagram @floydfestva and Facebook @FloydFestVA.

Embody Progress: The Change Project

We were first introduced to The Change Project when we met a representative from the organization at Roanoke’s Pride Festival in 2016. Their mission is to “elevate the voice of LGBTQ people and advocate for an improved quality of life through the arts, education, and local policy initiatives in the Deep South and Midwest United States.”

The organization was founded by Steven Romeo in 2012. It works with the LGBT+ community in Southern, Midwestern, and rural communities, QTPOC, youth, people living with HIV, and low-income communities. In November 2015, The Change Project was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change.”

Their campaigns like “Faces of LGBTQ America” and “IAMHIV” pair stories with photos and seek to increase visibility while simultaneously ending stigma. They give power back to the people represented, and create space for a constructive dialogue about what it is like to be part of communities that are often either judged or ignored.

So, how can you support this amazing organization?

First, check out their website. There are great resources there on how to donate and volunteer to help in your community.

You can also visit their shop! Shop Progress creates innovated, fresh fashion that “intentionally seeks to encompass the vast array of identities within the LGBTQ+ community.”

And, if you’re up for traveling in August, they will present Embody Progress, a conference on LGBTQ equality, August 10-13 in Birmingham, Alabama. You can register for the conference by following this link.

Tour Roanoke Outdoor Adventure!

Tour Roanoke was the first group to host food and beverage tours in the Roanoke Valley. Of course, our city is rich with history to explore, and that includes the surrounding mountains and rivers. One of the more spirited ways to learn about and fall in love with southwest Virginia is by taking to the water and the trails, so Tour Roanoke decided to try something new. This year, they offer Kayak the James and Craft Beer Trips with Twin River Outfitters. Each trip includes a six mile paddle on the river to one of three local breweries. This section of the James River includes Class I & II rapids.

“All of our tours–food, beer, wine–it’s all about showcasing local Roanoke. So it was not a difficult leap from that to local recreation. The James River is an appealing location because it’s 60 miles of uninhibited river there. It is one of the longest navigable rivers on the east coast,” says Larry Landolt, founder of Tour Roanoke.

The series of three Sunday trips began last month, but they will host another on July 23. They plan for this month’s adventure to include Great Valley Farm Brewery. Located in Natural Bridge, the brewery is not only a place to appreciate local craft beer, but also offers a remarkable view.

“It’s a really cool brewery. It’s on a nice hill overlooking the mountains. You can sit on the patio and drink a beer and look down to see Safari Park,” explains Larry.

Those participating in tours this summer will be picked up at Target (located near Valley View Mall) or the downtown Visitors Center, and transported to Buchanan, where their trip will begin at Twin River Outfitters. The oldest and most experienced outfitter operating on the Upper James River, they have safely conducted paddle trips since 1978. Sign up fees include equipment and instruction provided by Twin River Outfitters, and one pint or flight from the brewery on the trip.

Southwest Virginia is quickly becoming an outdoor recreation destination, and it’s not hard to understand why. With breweries popping up all over the area, the two leisure activities easily go hand in hand. For Larry and so many others, it is an unforgettable experience to escape and unwind. So, why not also take the opportunity to enjoy it with old friends and make a few new ones on the journey?

Or, as Larry says, “Let’s go do something really fun, drink beer, and talk about it.”

Can’t make it to one of the dates online? No worries! Tour Roanoke is also open to hosting private tours for up to 14 people. It’s the perfect adventure for wedding parties, birthdays, company functions, and more!

Visit www.roanokefoodtours.com for more information on how to schedule your trip, or one of their many tour options in Roanoke.

FloydFest 2017: Freedom

Where will you find your freedom on the mountain?

Will it be somewhere between the nine stages? 
A “natural amphitheater,” Streamline Stage at Hill Holler is a place to bring a blanket, lay back and relax while you take in the music. Or, dance with friends (or even by yourself!) to your favorite bands. Take in the Speakeasy Stage: an amazing covered dance space that has featured everything from the festive nature of musical performance to sword swallowing and burlesque dancing.
Of course, if quiet is what you need, seek out the Healing Arts Village for body-mind balance. Visit the Workshop Porch, hosted by Ferrum College, a space that transports audiences to the front porch music jam sessions of earlier times while artists share their music and stories to accompany it.
Take the kids to the Forever Young Stage where they can enjoy open mic sessions, Taekwondo classes, and tetherball matches, all in the main field area. FloydFest, as you may already know, is famous for the fun it offers for the entire family. Parents can enjoy the show on the Dreaming Creek Main Stage while the youngsters explore their own creativity.
And, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the Pink Floyd Garden Stage. This serene location is surrounded by trees, picnic tables, and craft beer vendors. It is the perfect place to meet new friends and spot old ones throughout the day. You don’t want to miss it at night, as it transforms under the aura of brightly colored lights to a brilliantly funky stage.
The VIP Pub Stage is for those with a backstage pass only, but Bella girls it is well worth it! Complimentary beverages, a comfortable lounge tent, and memorable performances await.

Will it be on an adventure with your FloydFest family?
FloydFest has multiple opportunities for outdoor adventure. They even have a tent dedicated to it! Sign up for one of their On the Water in Floyd Float Trips (Thursday-Sunday), the Parkway Brewing Company 5K Trail Running Race, or a guided hike. You can also join the Belcher Mountain Beatdown, a guided FloydFest 19-mile mountain bike journey (just make sure to bring your own bike and helmet!). In addition, there will be an Innova Disc Golf Tournament on Saturday! The mountain bike journey and float trips are catered, and include a small fee. Entering the 5K race, walking the Moonstomper Hiking Trail on your own, or joining a guided hike are free for FloydFest attendees.

Will it be in the performance of your new (or old) favorite artist?
Rebekah Todd & the Odyssey take the stage on Wednesday, along with talented musicians that will help you celebrate your first night on the mountain. On Thursday, enjoy Thievery Corporation, and honor artists of all ages with Girls Rock Roanoke. Friday welcomes Michael Frantz & Spearhead, Leftover Salmon, and Steel Pulse. On Saturday, Rising Appalachia (featured in this issue!) and St. Paul & the Broken Bones perform. Sunday, round out the weekend with Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, the TSisters, and HoneyHoney. These big names are just a few of our favorites, but there is a long list available on the FloydFest website. You will be surrounded with music all weekend—and really, there is no better way to enjoy the summer.

Visit www.floydfest.com for a complete lineup, list of activities and workshops, and to purchase your tickets! Don’t forget to bring donations for Floyd’s Plenty! Food Bank. Every two nonperishable items or one jar of peanut butter donated is an entry to win a FloydFest prize pack which includes a free 5-day ticket to FloydFest 2018. We’ll see you there!

Get Outside in Virginia State Parks!

Virginia State Parks provide wonderful opportunities for those who enjoy being outdoors and are looking for ways to use their time outside to give back to the community. Although almost all of the volunteers are users of Virginia State Parks, there are groups that sign up with members who have never visited them before. Both levels of experience are welcome, as all volunteers go through orientation and are supervised.

“There are volunteer opportunities that work for different age groups,” says Andrea Hasenfus, Camp Host Program Manager. “Retirees may be able to do a Wednesday gardening at noon, while someone who works a full-time job may be available to do trail maintenance on the weekends.”

There are also opportunities for young people. The Youth Conservation Corps is a great program for teens 14-17 who want to learn about conservation and working in parks. They spend three weeks living and working in parks around the state, supervised by college-age adults. Although the deadline to participate in this program has passed, visitors to the park may still get to see the group in action this summer. This is a competitive program. In 2017, 800 applications were received to fill 170 spots. If your child is interested in being involved in the future, it may be a good idea to sign up to volunteer and get some experience before the 2018 application process starts on December 1.

Joining a Friends Group is another way to contribute. It takes a lot of work to keep up state parks, and Friends Groups play a huge part in building and maintaining trails, helping staff visitor centers, working on educational outreach programs, and raising funds for park projects and facilities. There are several parks with Friends Groups looking for members. Being part of one of these groups has the potential to create a lasting impact for generations to come, as they also help with advocacy for the invaluable resources offered through the parks.

“Sometimes the most help, if you can’t put your elbow grease in on the trail, is to be an advocate. Whether you are a member of a friends group, or used to doing advocacy in the community, advocates are always great to have on our behalf.” explains Andrea.

For those who want a more immersive and active experience, the AmeriCorps program engages its members in meaningful service in Virginia State Parks by providing extensive training and professional development opportunities. They go through grants, and work on natural resource management in the parks. Some of them last all summer, and those who complete them receive an education award at the end.

There will be a big opportunity for volunteers on June 3 for Clean the Bay Day/National Trails Day. In fact, every park in the Virginia State Parks system will have a need for help that day. Those who wish to volunteer will not have to sign up through the website to be a one-time volunteer for the event. Simply show up at your local park and offer to lend a hand.

Visit www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks for a full list of parks in your area. Click on individual parks to see what they need.

Intercept Youth Services Career Fair

Ready for a bright new career helping families in need?

Intercept Youth Services is hosting a career fair on May 23 from 12-6 pm at their Airport Road location in Roanoke. There will be openings for a variety of positions ranging from Treatment Foster Care and Community Based Counseling to Mentoring and Crisis Services. Check out their website for more information on the help they provide our area and positions available.

Go Red for Women Luncheon

Heart disease is the number one killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths every year. The warning signs are not the same for women as they are for men. They can include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, and discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Heart disease and stroke do not discriminate by age, ethnicity or background. It is important to know your numbers and do what you can to prevent permanent or fatal damage from both–even if it means going to the hospital at an inconvenient time to make sure everything is okay.

Learn more about how to stay heart healthy and your personal wellness by visiting your doctor and www.goredforwomen.org.

You can support the life-saving efforts of the American Heart Association by attending their Go Red for Women Luncheon on May 25 at 11 a.m at the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Ijeoma N. Okogbue of Carilion Clinic Cardiology. The event will also include a fashion show by Macy’s, a networking reception with a silent auction, and heart-healthy living demos, education, and lunch.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit their website or call 540-989-2810.