GO Fest Pivots in 2020 with Small Events


ROANOKE, VA (Aug. 26, 2020) – The Anthem Roanoke GO Outside Festival (GO Fest) isn’t happening in the traditional sense. The event, which is put on by the Roanoke Outside Foundation and Roanoke Parks and Recreation, will not happen in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can show your outdoor community spirit in other ways.

GO Fest will pivot from a large outdoor festival to a series of smaller, socially distanced events that still contribute to the Roanoke Region’s outdoor community.

“We want it to be a weekend where everyone makes it a point to do something outside,” said Julia Boas, events director for the Roanoke Outside Foundation.

Here’s what you can expect for the weekend of Oct. 16-18:

  • Weekend schedule packed full of events throughout the region. Clubs and businesses can plan an outdoor, socially distanced gathering, event, clinic, talk, etc. and add it to the outdoors.
  • GO Quest an epic team challenge. Go Quest is a team scavenger hunt that allows participants to post pictures, videos, GPS markers, and more in real-time. Teams work together, but don’t necessarily have to be physically together, to accomplish real-life challenges like finishing hikes or bike rides to singing in a public location. Teams that accomplish the most could win cash and outdoor gear. Registration for GO Quest will go live in early September.
  • Benefit concerts. If CDC and state health guidelines allow, GO Fest will host two socially distanced benefit concerts with proceeds going to Project Outside. Event seating will be VIP-style with boxes where a limited number of friends and family will be allowed to share a 12′ x 12′ space.

“More than ever we need to gather outside, physically distant but socially connected.,” said Kait Pedigo, Roanoke Parks and Recreation special events supervisor. “We’re working diligently to set the gold standard for how safe events are done in our region.”

GO Fest was created more than 10 years ago to provide a showcase of all the amazing things happening in the outdoor community in the Roanoke Region. But it’s also a community economic driver.

In 2019, the GO Fest generated $480,000 in new economic activity to support 4.7 jobs in the Roanoke market for the next year. Further, the festival generates significant revenue through sales and opportunity for regional outdoor businesses ($5,520 in average sales per vendor in 2019) and helps nonprofits recruit volunteers and fundraise.

“If we want to continue developing as an outdoor community we need to be willing to invest even more in our community strength,” Boas said. “GO Fest is honored to be able to kick-off the fundraising efforts this year for Project Outside. It gives us hope and excitement for the future during difficult times.”

Project Outside is a community fund created by businesses, governments, and individuals to support outdoor capital improvement projects, maintain key outdoor assets, and help launch and support businesses in the outdoor sector.

It is a partnership between the Roanoke Outside Foundation and land managers (i.e. local governments, ATC, NPS, etc.) of identified regional outdoor assets. Project Outside funds will be used to fill maintenance funding gaps in projects or initiatives and pool resources to tackle new outdoor infrastructure projects. 

The goal is to raise $100,000 this year, and then keep it going. This is our time to invest in our community strength – the outdoors – to continue positioning the Roanoke Region as a preferred place to live, work, play, and visit.

Businesses and individuals can pledge support to the Project Outside through an online donation portal, or by pledging a percentage from specific sales to the campaign (e.g. 1% of sales from the month of October, or $10 of every  bike sold through the end of 2020).

Supporters can also purchase GO Fest merchandise or tickets for the outdoor gear raffle (Hydro Flask, Mountain Khaki, FloydFest, Walkabout Outfitter, Yakima, Otterbox, and more) – coming soon – and shop locally for outdoor gear. Show all the vendors you might have visited at GO Fest some love at their place of business.

All fundraising and proceeds from merchandise and events associated with GO Fest in 2020 will go to Project Outside to ensure that we don’t lose all the momentum we’ve been building for the outdoors.

Corporate supporters are leading the charge with $50,000 already pledged to Project Outside from Anthem, Carilion Clinic, Freedom First Credit Union, Haley Toyota, Hydro Flask, Member One Federal Credit Union, Blue Ridge Hydroponics, and Orvis.

Other business partners pledging support include East Coasters Bike Shop, Runabout Sports, Orvis Roanoke, and Walkabout Outfitter.

Learn more and get involved: https://www.roanokeoutside.com/project-outside/

Ask questions and learn more during a live stream with GO Fest organizers at noon Thursday: https://www.facebook.com/GOfestival/live/

Roanoke Outside creates economic growth by leveraging natural assets to attract investment and talent. Through business attraction, signature outdoor events, strategic partnerships, social offerings, and infrastructure investment Roanoke Outside seeks to establish the Roanoke Region as a place where businesses want to locate and where people want to live. Roanoke Outside manages www.roanokeoutside.com and a portfolio of brand-building events that include Blue Ridge Marathon, GO Outside Festival (GO Fest), and Go Cross Cyclocross Race. The Roanoke Outside Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization and is part of the Roanoke Regional Partnership family, which also includes Get2KnowNoke.

Roanoke’s Department of Parks and Recreation is a full-service, nationally accredited municipal agency that maintains nearly 14,000 acres of public land and provides the Roanoke Valley with thousands of recreational opportunities each year. The department employs 62 full-time employees and roughly 158 part-time and seasonal employees, offering 2,000 programs annually in 61 parks, seven greenways, four plazas, two outdoor swimming pools and seven recreation centers. For more information, please visit www.playroanoke.com.