From a giant walking carrot to spotlight the Roanoke College Garden, to rocking bands and drink cups that produced swirling colors when filled with cold liquid, the first Salem Riverfest offered a little something for everyone.
More than 200 college students and adults, a handful of kids and happy dogs interacted at booths and activities on the Maroon Athletic Quad, next to Kerr Stadium at Roanoke College the afternoon and evening of April 13.
After a few rain showers earlier in the day, it was a perfect afternoon to sit outside in the sunshine, enjoy the spring scenery, and visit with friends. Festival goers competed at Cornhole, challenged a mechanical bull, climbed the rock wall, ate tacos and picked up information from student organizations. A beer garden high up on Sutton Terrace featured hometown Parkway beer and a panoramic view of all the attractions.
Salem Riverfest was a cooperative effort by Roanoke College, the City of Salem and the Clean Valley Council to benefit the CVC’s Roanoke River conservation projects.
“We’re enjoying it,” said Lisa Paroline of Roanoke County, who was relaxing with neighbors in Adirondack chairs on Sutton Terrace. “We like the openness all around, and the bands are great,” she added.
The event was student planned, college spokesperson Teresa Gereaux explained, by the Campus Activities Board and such student groups as Earth Bound, Outdoor Adventures, the Flyfishing group and the Beekeeping Society. CAB members were everywhere, in their river-blue event T-shirts.
Salem’s moveable LOVE sign was there, backed up by smooth and spicy music was provided by Kendall Street Company at its first appearance in Salem, coming from Charlottesville. The 10-piece Audacity Brass Band and another young band, Orange Culture, warmed up the crowd.
People brought blankets and chairs, or used the built-in ledges as seats.
“I think the event is a lot of fun,” said senior Sarah McGuirl. “It’s a really great cause.” McGuirl was there with her Golden Retriever, Abby, and her friends Stafani Senkus and Olivia Orent, a junior.