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Festival in the Park brings music and art to the Star City

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ROANOKE (WSLS10)-- If you're heading into Downtown Roanoke this weekend, expect things to be a little busier than normal-- as the 47th Festival in the Park officially kicks off on Friday.

This year's festival features a handful of local and national bands, including Rutledge, Parrots of the Caribbean and several tribute bands. There will also be dozens of art booths set up as well as a kid's zone for the whole family to play in.

The music and art show draws in about 20,000 people a day, who will all be shopping, eating and exploring Downtown.

"We're Friday night, all day Saturday and all day Sunday," says executive director, Skip Brown. "Most people don't come to all day everyday for three days, so they'll take a day and go up to Mill Mountain or go to a museum. We have the Taubman here judging our youth art show, so a lot of people will walk down and visit the Taubman also."

It's been several years since the renovations at Elmwood Park were completed, a change that has helped the festival become even more successful.

Elmwood Park now holds more than 4,000 visitors, offering up additional amphitheater seating along the grass terraces. There's also more space for vendors and other activities along the walkways coming in and out of the park. Brown says the updates, especially the new stage and technology, have had a big impact on the music festival.

" When we started here at Elmwood Park, we had a little wooden platform and we would build a stage on top of the platform," he says. "When the park was being designed, we were invited to take part in that discussion. We didn't have infrastructure, we didn't have enough power, there were so many things we didn't have. Now we have a venue that can bring in a national act without any issue at all."

This year festival organizers are working to bring in even more visitors by lowering the ticket price 50%. A button to get in is now only $5 per person. It's all part of a plan to make Festival in the Park completely free within the next five years, leaving people who attend with more money to spend somewhere else in the Star City.

For more information on tickets, click here.