First Fridays returns to Roanoke with new location

First Fridays season kicks-off Friday May 7, 5 p.m. at the Berglund Center, proceeds go to local nonprofits

ROANOKE, Va. – Roanoke’s original party with a purpose is back with some changes.

The 33rd First Fridays season starts Friday, May 7 and will still include live music and giving back, but instead of being a Downtown Roanoke street party, the event was moved to the Berglund Center parking lot.

As much as volunteers love hosting festivities and bringing business downtown, the location change was due to capacity and keeping everyone’s safety in mind.

“We had planned on having it downtown and on Franklin Road where we always have it and because the governor’s rules changed, the capacity went way down and it wasn’t going to be profitable and we didn’t want to have an event and lose money for charities,” said David Camper, the event board’s vice president.

Last year, organizations had to go without money from this event because of the pandemic so less money for them just wasn’t an option for the First Friday board.

Raising money for nonprofits making an impact in Roanoke Valley is the purpose of the party. Throughout the more than 30 years First Fridays have been around it’s raised more than $2 million for nonprofits.

When you pay the $10 admission, buy any beer or wine the money goes directly to the nearly 20 organizations at the end of the season.

The season includes 10 Fridays and 10 bands from May through October.

Each Friday is run by volunteers from benefitting organizations.

Camper said it’s a win-win event for the entire community.

“The charities win, the audiences wins, every dollar they put up all the profits go to charity. There are very generous people in Roanoke, people don’t complain about paying so much for a beer or so much for an entry because they know where the profits go,” said Camper.

Other COVID-19 safety precautions include a mask requirement to enter, screening before someone enters, sanitizing public areas like the port-o-johns throughout the night and pods for people to stay in while enjoying the concert. Additional safety measures can be found here.

Here is where you can look at the list of bands performing and benefitting nonprofits.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.