One of the animatronic dinosaurs at Explore Park in Roanoke County. Courtesy of Roanoke County.
One of the animatronic dinosaurs at Explore Park in Roanoke County. Courtesy of Roanoke County.

Here are some of the top events around Southwest and Southside for the coming week. Check out our new events calendar. Got an event? Add it for free.

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May 4 and 9: Wythe Community College Choir performs in Hillsville and Wytheville

The Wytheville Community College Choir will perform two spring concerts this May.  

The 45-member choir presents “American Patchwork,” a program of music written by current and historical American composers, at 7 p.m. May 4 at First United Methodist Church, 225 Fulcher St., Hillsville.

A second performance will be held at 7 p.m. May 9 at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 330 Church St., Wytheville.

The featured work will be “Te Deum” by Dan Forrest, and another shorter featured work will be five “Hebrew Love Songs” by Eric Whitacre. Other composers on the program are William Billings, Alice Parker, Bill Withers and Lady Gaga. 

The WCC Choir was established in 2013. Since then, the choir has performed several major choral compositions such as “Messiah” by Handel, “Gloria” by Vivaldi, “Magnificat and Gloria” by John Rutter, “Requiem” by Mark Hayes, and the Virginia premiere of “Jubilate Deo” by Dan Forrest. The choir has performed at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with members of the New York Symphony Orchestra. It also also performed with the Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra.

Cynthia Jackson is the choir’s director.  For more information about the choir, visit

There is no admission price for these events; however, donations to the WCC Choir Fund will be appreciated.

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May 5-6: Strawberry Festival in Roanoke

Community School’s 43rd annual Strawberry Festival will take place May 5 and 6 in Elmwood Park in downtown Roanoke.

The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 5 and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 6. For more information or to purchase dessert tickets in advance, visit  

Artisan craft vendors, local businesses and area nonprofit organizations will be on hand both days. Saturday offers entertainment including dance performances, live music and a stilt-walking performance group. 

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May 5-7: ‘Shrek the Musical Jr.’ at Martinsville High School

Performances of “Shrek The Musical Jr.” will take place at 7 p.m. May 5 and May 6 and at 3 p.m. 7 at Martinsville High School. 

Tickets are $8 in advance and will increase to $10 at 3 p.m. May 5. 

Show and ticket information are all available here: 

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May 5: Signups begin for Adriana Trigiani book-signing in Big Stone Gap

Best-selling author Adriana Trigiani will return home to Big Stone Gap for a book-signing that will be part of the Gathering in the Gap Music Festival on May 27.

Signups for the book-signing begin May 5 at There is no charge for the tickets, but a limited number will be available.

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May 6: Animatronic dinosaurs at Explore Park in Roanoke County

Explore Park in Roanoke County will have a T-Rex Trail this summer.

A half-mile wooded path will feature 19 animatronic dinosaurs from four time periods: Triassic, Jurassic, Early Cretaceous and Late Cretaceous. Visitors will experience the sights and sounds of dinosaurs including a stegosaurus, velociraptor, triceratops and tyrannosaurus rex.

Roanoke County Parks, Recreation and Tourism and Center in the Square will operate the event from May 27 to Aug. 13.

The trail opens May 6 with a “sneak peek” day. T-Rex Trail will operate on the following days, beginning May 27:

  • Tuesday-Friday: 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Saturday-Sunday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Advance tickets will be sold, with assigned arrival times. Walk-up tickets can be purchased at the Explore Park Visitor Center based on availability. Tickets can be purchased in the following ways:

  • Online: Visit for advanced ticket purchases.
  • Walk-up: Purchase tickets at the Explore Park Visitor Center, 56 Roanoke River Parkway (Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Sunday, 9 A.M.-5 p.m.).

Tickets purchased in advance are $14 for adults (ages 16-plus) and $9 for children (ages 2-15). Walk-up tickets are $15 for adults (ages 16-plus) and $10 for children (ages 2-15).

Group rentals are available Tuesday to Friday at 9 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. for a minimum of 20 guests. Birthday party rentals will take place on weekends at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. Call 540-427-1800 or email to book a group or birthday party rental.

All proceeds from the event go to support Center in the Square and Explore Park.

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May 6: Kids Fishing Day at Cave Mountain Lake, Pandapas Pond

The USDA Forest Service, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, will host the annual Kids Fishing Day at Cave Mountain Lake and Pandapas Pond on May 6.

The water at both sites will be stocked with trout in advance of the fishing day, which is open to children ages 3 to 15. 

The event runs from 9 a.m. to noon at Cave Mountain Lake and from 8 a.m. to noon at Pandapas Pond.

Beginners can find tips for getting started fishing on the Virginia DWR website. Forest Service staff will be available at the event to offer advice.

Fishing is free at the event, but state game laws for the Youth Fisheries Program apply. Children are allowed to catch and keep three trout, a minimum of 7 inches or longer, and should bring their own poles and any fishing supplies necessary. Only one pole per person is allowed, and a parent or adult guardian must accompany all children. Bring a picnic lunch and spend the day.

A makeup day of May 13 has been set in case the event needs to be rescheduled due to weather at either site.

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May 6, 13 and 20: Cleanup days at Smith Mountain Lake

Take Pride in Smith Mountain Lake, SML’s annual cleanup initiative, will take place throughout the month of May with organized events scheduled for May 6, 13 and 20 at locations around the lake.

Neighborhood groups, businesses, families, civic organizations and others are invited to participate in any of the organized events or plan their own Take Pride cleanup anytime in May.

For the three scheduled dates, dumpsters will be available for disposal of debris collected on the water. The locations are subject to change, and participants should check for the latest information.

Volunteers may register for by filling out the online form at Representatives also will sign up participants at the Smith Mountain Lake Business Expo, which will take place from noon to 4 p.m. May 5 at EastLake Community Church. 

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May 6: Appalachian Road Show in Galax

Award-winning Appalachian Road Show will bring its riveting performance to the Rex Theater in Galax at 7 p.m. May 6.

Appalachian Road Show is an acoustic ensemble, composed of Grammy and IBMA award winners and nominees. It brings new-generation interpretations of traditional Americana, bluegrass and folk songs, as well as offers original music.

Grammy-nominated banjoist Barry Abernathy joins forces with Grammy-winning fiddler Jim VanCleve, as well as vocalist and mandolinist Darrell Webb, who has recorded and toured with Dolly Parton and Rhonda Vincent, among many others. The group also includes bassist Todd Phillips, who has two Grammy wins and four nominations under his belt, along with guitarist Zeb Snyder.

The band recently released its latest album, “Jubilation,” which features an introduction by country legend Dolly Parton and is an ode to the life, culture and lifestyle of Appalachia. Watch/listen to Parton’s introduction here

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May 8: ‘Peter and the Wolf’ in Big Stone Gap

Symphony of the Mountains performs “Peter and the Wolf” at 7 p.m. May 8 in the Union High School Auditorium in Big Stone Gap.

This family-friendly performance is free and open to all. For more information and reservations, visit

Former Barter Theatre actor Rick McVey will join the Symphony of the Mountains orchestra to narrate the story. In his time as a full-time member of the Resident Acting Company at Barter Theatre, McVey appeared in more than 100 productions on Barter’s stages.

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May 9: Virtual speaker series by author of book about country music legend Stringbean

Taylor Hagood, author of a book about the country music legend David “Stringbean” Akeman, will speak at 7 p.m. May 9 as part of the speaker series sponsored by the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol.

The event will be held virtually via Zoom and is free and open to the public. 

“This true crime story is one of the most shocking and tragic events in the history of country music,” Rene Rodgers, the museum’s head curator, said in a statement. “It may not be suitable for younger viewers due to the nature of the content.”

November 10, 2023, marks the 50th anniversary of the murder of Stringbean and his wife, Estelle.

A native of Ripley, Mississippi, Hagood is currently a professor at Florida Atlantic University.

To attend online, pre-register through the Events page at

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May 11: Jesse Daniel to be on ‘Farm and Fun Time’ in Bristol

Classic country king Jesse Daniel meets bluegrass duo of Compton and Newberry on the next edition of  WBCM Radio Bristol‘s “Farm and Fun Time” at 7 p.m. May 11 in the performance theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in downtown Bristol.

The program is hosted by Radio Bristol Program Director Kris Truelsen and his house band, Bill and the Belles.

Tickets to “Farm and Fun Time” are $40 and may be purchased online through the Events page at The program may also be accessed in its entirety live through WBCM Radio Bristol’s Facebook page, on the air at 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online at or via the station’s free mobile app. 

“Farm and Fun Time” is recorded before a live audience and syndicated for television on Blue Ridge PBSEast Tennessee PBS and PBS North Carolina