Robin Reed, news anchor at WDBJ7, will serve as the Grand Marshal of this year’s Vinton Dogwood Festival Parade on April 28.
Reed has been with WDBJ7 since March 1982. His path to television began with a passion for baseball but a major league career was not to be. TV sports reporting was the logical extension, but when the opportunity to present weather in Roanoke came along, Reed knew he had found a new hometown.
His communications degree from James Madison University did not include meteorology so he began an extended period of distance learning, including stints at Penn State, Ball State, Mississippi State, Portland State, Lyndon State and the USDA Graduate School.
Viewers are often impressed by Reed’s professional on-air presentation, but what they don’t always see is his dedication to education. Reed has served as an instructor at Virginia Western Community College and for the last seven years has taught meteorology and communication courses at Virginia Tech.
He has become one of the most sought-after speakers in our area.
In February 2017, Reed was asked to take over the 6 p.m. anchor chair for the departing Chris Hurst. Viewers appreciate having a familiar face presenting the news and Reed is enjoying the new challenge.
He and his wife Teresa live on a small farm in Botetourt County.
Dogwood Festival President Connie Houff says the organization was looking for “an anchor in the community” in issuing an invitation to this year’s Grand Marshal.
“I was delighted when Mary Beth Layman asked if I could join the festivities this year,” said Reed. “I remember a live shot with WDBJ7 years ago. It was pouring rain, and someone walked by and said I could never come back. It was a funny joke. Hopefully the weather will be better this year– can’t wait for the parade.”
Board members have been working to put together this year’s Dogwood Festival since early last fall. In addition to Houff, board members include secretary Karen Obenchain, Dogwood Queen and Court Committee chair Susan Teass, treasurer Todd Bailey, retail and food vendor chair Brittany Lane, craft vendor chair Beth Abbott, Parade and Town of Vinton Liaison Mary Beth Layman, and entertainment chair Joey Nicely.
The Vinton Dogwood Festival is a nonprofit, community-focused organization, which provides free family entertainment for the community while promoting Vinton and Roanoke Valley businesses. All officers, members of the board of directors, and event chairs are volunteers.
The festival is funded by corporate and local sponsorships, ticket sales to many of the events, advertising, souvenir sales, and vendor fees. Sponsorships are provided by local, regional and national businesses.
The festivities kick off on Wednesday, April 25, and extend through Sunday, April 29.
Cole Shows Amusement Carnival returns this year at the old William Byrd ballfield, opening at 6 nightly Wednesday through Friday, on Saturday from noon to 11 p .m, and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
The Faded Travelers Band is featured on the Carnival Stage on April 25 at 7 p.m. with no charge for admission. The WORX band performs on the Vinton Farmers’ Market Stage at 6 p.m. on April 26 ($5 admission). Uptown Band performs on the Carnival Stage on April 27 at 7 p.m. at no charge. Five Dollar Shade also performs on the Carnival Stage on April 28 at 7 p.m. with free admission. The week’s concerts wrap up on April 29 at the Farmers’ Market Stage with the beach band, Holiday Band, from 2-6 p.m. (tickets are $5).
Ten William Byrd High School students have been nominated by the faculty and guidance counselors at WBHS for the Dogwood Court; one will be selected as the 2018 Dogwood Queen after an interview by a panel of judges and will be crowned at noon. After a reception at the Vinton War Memorial, the queen and court will be riding on a new float in this year’s parade, which gets under way at 2:30 p.m. from the War Memorial parking lot.
Performers on the Vinton Farmers’ Market Stage on April 28, beginning at 10 a.m. include the William Byrd Jazz Band, the Valley Church Worship Band, the Island Trio Band, and the Jerry and Terry Duo.
There will be a World Tai Chi demonstration on the Vinton Baptist Stage, followed by bluegrass music from the Roanoke Fiddle and Banjo Club.
The Children’s Zone will feature free activities for children, a Bounce House, an Obstacle Course, “Love Theme” crafts, games, and Balloon Story Teller Dennis Yeatts. There will also be children’s activities at the Vinton Farmers’ Market organized by Mineral Springs Baptist Church.
The Vinton History Museum will be holding an open house. The RCACP will be sponsoring pet adoptions at the Vinton Library with other activities scheduled throughout the library.
According to the Dogwood Festival board, “The success of the Vinton Dogwood Festival is a direct result of the devoted efforts of many members of the community. Without their dedication, support and participation, producing an event of this enormity would not be possible. The work is done by 50 plus volunteers who work with staff of directors and chairpersons.”
The Dogwood Committee is in need of more volunteers to keep the festival running smoothly. Those interested should contact Mary Beth Layman at 983-0614 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.