Busy weekend in Roanoke to include Strawberry Festival, Chili Cook-Off and Cinco De Mayo events

Every spring and summer the Roanoke area comes alive with plenty of festivals and events for the entire family.

And with those events comes a lot of people and a big boost to the local economy. 

Just this weekend alone, there's the Strawberry Festival in Elwood Park, The Cinco De Mayo Celebration and the Chili Cook-Off which are all happening downtown.

It's not only fun for visitors, it's good for business.

Many who live here in Roanoke or frequent the Star City know it's all about the festivals when Spring and Summer roll around.

"Downtown Roanoke is a nice place to be.  You know, it's laid back, family oriented, bars, restaurants, plenty of things to do,” Roanoke resident D’Angelo Coffey said.

One of those restaurants is The Roanoke Weiner Stand.  You can get a famous chili topped hot dog here most any day. For them, business booms when the area is filled with weekend events.

"Chili Cook-Off, St. Patrick's Day Festival, Dickens of a Christmas, that's our busiest times. We're definitely busier in the summer,” Roanoke Weiner Stand employee Patricia Hemenway said.

And that holds true for small business owner, Pauline Wood as well.  She owns Shades of Colors on Market Street and always enjoys festival season.

"We get a lot of people in from different parts outside of Roanoke. It's the time of year that we all look forward to because of course our business picks up,” Wood said.

Wood says events like the Chili Cook-Off and Strawberry Festival help bring in a 20 percent boost in sales. But more than that, these events bring a sense of lasting community.

As you can imagine, with tens of thousands of people expected in the downtown and surrounding areas, you'll have to pack your patience, especially if you're driving.

All of the parking lots in and around the city are free except The Tower, Market and Center in The Square lots.

Expect lots of street closures and very little street parking.

And you may want to consider walking, carpooling or taking public transportation to any of this weekend's events.

WDBJ7 will have photo galleries on the home page from many of the weekend events. Be sure to check back to see photos from the weekend.