When the Roanoke Regional Partnership and Roanoke Outside founded the Anthem GO Outside Festival with Roanoke Parks and Recreation six years ago, the aim was to build a festival that would leverage our outdoor reputation to attract business and investment.
We were on to something.
This year’s festival was the biggest to date with record crowds turning out to celebrate the outdoors and the Roanoke Region’s active lifestyle. Attendance was up 20 percent with more than 30,000 people.
National manufacturers from Keen to The North Face were a few of the 120 vendors on hand for the three-day event in October, many sending company representatives to the region for the first time. This provides an opportunity for even more people to see what the region has to offer.
VIP “Glamping,” one of the newest additions to the festival, was a major hit. All of the tents sold out, allowing campers to stay on site all weekend in style. The remainder of the GO Fest “campground” was larger as well with plenty of people taking advantage of the stay-all-weekend option.
Deschutes Brewery was also on hand and brought Woody, a barrel-shaped mobile tavern, and sponsored the first craft beer dinner at GO Fest with River and Rail.
Proceeds from both of these events support the Roanoke Outside Foundation.
There were plenty of other milestones this year as well:
- Festival-goers consumed 20,000 beers, surging past the previous mark of 12,200 pints
- The founders of FloydFest took the music to the next level, with acts including Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
- The festival was named Top Festival in annual Best of the Blue Ridge voting by Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine
- 120 vendors were on site, providing a boost in retail sales
- 12,000 pounds of recycling were collected and thanks to water stations 4,500 water bottles were diverted from landfills
- Festival-goers participated in 140 free activities
- 12 professional athletes performed in 35 shows
- People came from 39 states to attend the event
Huge thanks to you and the Roanoke Regional Partnership investor partners for making GO Fest such an overwhelming success.
- Carter Machinery
- Carilion Clinic
- Roanoke County
- Franklin County
We are already looking forward to next year. Mark your calendars for Oct. 20-22, 2017.
Outdoor amenities and immense livability were two reasons Deschutes Brewery selected the Roanoke Region for its East Coast operations.
The value of the region’s soft assets is not all anecdotal; new research from the Gallup-Healthways partnership suggests the Roanoke Outside model is right on target.
Communities that invest in bike paths, parks and recreational assets, as well as in infrastructure that improves walkability have demonstrably better outcomes in important areas of health for their residents, according to the Gallup-Healthways report “Active Living Environments in U.S. Communities.”
The Roanoke Region is doing just that by actively investing in greenways, bike paths, bike amenities, parks, and working to activate the outdoor infrastructure of Roanoke through unique events such as the Blue Ridge Marathon and Roanoke GO Outside Festival and new amenities such as the downtown kayak launch.
The report found that increasing an area’s bike-friendliness and/or investing in parks and recreational programs were significantly correlated (with 99% confidence) with lower obesity, lower diabetes, lower rate of high blood pressure, lower rate of heart attack incidence, lower smoking rate, daily healthy eating, and active and productive feelings.
The communities that scored highest in active living environments (walkable, bike-friendly, investments in parks) had an average Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Score of 62.1, placing them all in the top 40 percent of community rankings. The Roanoke Region has a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score of 62.5, better than 75 percent of the communities studied.
Roanoke Outside, as it works to enhance the outdoor community of Roanoke, is contributing to better health for residents and the workforce. As the message of all the great things going on in the Roanoke Region spreads, individuals who are health-conscious increasingly will be attracted to the area.
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Professional cycling is back!
The inaugural Virginia’s Blue Ridge Downtown Twilight Criterium drew spectators and professional cyclists from all over the country to Roanoke for an action-packed evening.
The race, which featured a $15,000 purse, drew 88 professional riders from as far away as California and Vermont and featured a few Roanoke Region pros as well, among three classes of riders (men, women, and masters).
The course was fast, thanks to a few rain showers, and the crowd was loud, cheering on racers and ringing cow bells. The event coincided with Bike Month and downtown was packed with spectators that came out for the races, live music, and events such as an Adult Big Wheel Criterium and Roanoke Valley Beer Mile.
You can view official race results here and keep up with the crit at vbrcrit.com.