The Roanoke Region’s premier outdoor festival has a new name this year.

The Roanoke Outdoor Circus is coming out from under the tent – OK, not literally – to become the GO OUTSIDE Festival, or GO FEST (

GO FEST, presented by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and hosted by the City of Roanoke Parks and Recreation, will be held Oct. 19-21.

GO FEST combines the things outdoor enthusiasts love, such as camping, music, gear, adventure films, races, gear giveaways, demonstrations and a beautiful outdoor setting, to showcase the many amazing outdoor activities the Roanoke Region has to offer.

“Last year’s successful inaugural got us thinking about how to make this bigger and better, including a name that reflects the true meaning of the festival – to get outside, be with family and friends and engage an active lifestyle,”  says Paul Chapman, outdoor education coordinator with Roanoke Parks and Recreation.

“There’s an ever-growing outdoor vibe in Roanoke and the GO FEST is a great way for people in our region and beyond to swap stories, tips, products, trails and more with others who share their passion for the outdoors,” added  Pete Eshelman, director of outdoor branding for the Roanoke Regional Partnership.

Like last year, GO FEST will be centered on the fields along Reserve Avenue in Roanoke. Admission to everything except competitive events is free. It features a host of outdoor activities, both competitive and non-competitive, including guided hikes, trail runs, equipment demos, mountain bike races, gear yard sale, disc golf, geocache trail, and lots more.

The festival will feature such national brands as Giant, Montrail, Keen and New Belgium.

Other events and activities are still being planned. GO FEST’s new website,, is being regularly updated as events and activities are added.

The name change also is better suited to attract outdoor-related businesses looking to establish or relocate businesses in the region, Eshelman says.

“Roanoke is a prime location for businesses in the outdoor industry,” he says. “GO FEST, with its large community participation, is a convenient way for these businesses to interact with a growing customer base.”

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