ROANOKE, Va. – One of Roanoke's largest annual events is ready to welcome tens of thousands of outdoor enthusiasts to the Star City.
The Go Outside Festival expects about 40,000 visitors during its weekend run at River's Edge Park South. GO Fest will feature dozens of outdoor activities; organizers say the aim is to cement Roanoke's reputation as an outdoor destination.
"The festival has a lot of different elements," said Julia Boas, of the Roanoke Outside Foundation. "It's one of the ways we can showcase Roanoke to the outside world."
"It brings a lot of people who are not necessarily from Roanoke to town," added Stephanie Long, of Roanoke Parks and Recreation. "We get to show off the cool stuff we have to offer."
The festival is traditionally held at River's Edge Park North, but it moved across the Roanoke River due to construction. The shift to the south side has not had a large effect on how the festival came together, although patrons are still asked to park near River's Edge North.
"It was a little bit of an adjustment initially," said Long. "We have grown so used to the north side that we knew where everything would go."
Despite the change in venue, organizers remain optimistic about the festival's future success.
"We're not just trying to shove the notion of us being an outdoor destination when it's not really true," Boas said. "It's a genuine story and that's what makes it really real."