Festival in the Park kicks off Friday

This year marks 50th anniversary for Festival in the Park

ROANOKE, Va. – Earlier Friday, crews were getting everything ready for the Roanoke Festival in the Park.

Chief organizer Skip Brown says this weekend is so special for the community, there's now a nickname for it.

“We are the unofficial official start of summer,” Brown said.

Visitors from all over the region, as well as the entire East Coast, are expected for the festival, which is good news for local businesses like Shishka.

"We're getting ready for a big crowd. We're expecting a large group of people especially this evening,” manager Kimberly Mertz, of Shishka, said.

Since this year marks the festival's 50th anniversary, visitors can expect more activities than usual.

Brown said one of the highlights this year is that there will be much bigger shows happening on stage.

“The stage is active all day Saturday and all day Sunday before the national acts. We will feature Foghat,” Brown said.

Brown anticipates a major economic boost for the valley.

“We're going to sell out. We already know we're going to sell out,” Brown said.