5 Questions with Kait Pedigo, Roanoke Outside’s New Event Manager
Kait Pedigo has been selected as the new events manager of the Roanoke Outside Foundation. Kait has worked the last three years as the special events supervisor for the City of Roanoke where she became very familiar with the foundation’s events and played an integral role on the Anthem Go Outside Festival committee.
We sat down with Kait and asked her a few questions to help you get to know her. Feel free to email her with your own questions – firstname.lastname@example.org.
5 Questions with Kait Pedigo
1). Most recently you’ve been the special event supervisor for Roanoke Parks and Recreation, what was that like?
It is a very cool two-sided role. On the one hand, you get to partner with great organizations and put on special events that make Roanoke a welcoming place to play–events like the WazUpwidis Urban Stair Challenge, Summer Cross Cyclocross Series, and GO Fest. And on the other hand, you also help other event organizers work through permitting and using public spaces like Elmwood Park and the greenway system. Doing both, I got to know some of the most passionate and driven organizations in the area and gained a real appreciation for how we can do the most with our public spaces. We have some great people and tons of cool events in Roanoke.
2). What’s a hidden outdoor gem in the region you don’t want people to know about?
There are folks who wouldn’t want me to name it here, but there’s a ridge in Craig County where you can catch the sunset on one side overlooking a gorgeous wilderness area and on the other side you get a sunrise over a lovely farm-filled valley. It’s close enough that you can hike/bike/drive up there on a whim, but remote enough that it takes some effort and know-how to get there. There’s even some climbing nearby if you know where to look. It’s one of my favorite spots in the whole region and I’ll be happy to tell you more about it if we ever get to talking.
3). What’s your favorite event in the Roanoke Region, and why?
Of course it’s GO Fest! There is no better example than GO Fest of how special the region is. Where else can you eat amazing food, demo stand-up paddleboards, attend yoga classes, do ridiculous things like peddle a backwards bike, and then party the night away with local breweries to great live music? Not to mention all the high-fives and hugs you get because you could bump into everyone you know when you’re there. It’s all the fun, the community, and the love of the outdoors that Roanoke has to offer all year, but packed into three days. My first GO Fest, I was an exhibitor and I loved it. Then, I joined the planning committee when I joined Parks and Rec and never experienced a better reward for working hard: 150+ vendors putting their best foot forward for 40,000 people trying new things, and everyone collectively celebrating the outdoors together. Even when we had to pivot to withstand the pandemic last year, we presented a whole new socially-distanced format with a benefit concert (sadly without high-fives and hugs) and the support of everyone who came out was the highlight of my year. GO Fest is great.
4). If you could wave a magic wand and make something happen here (for the outdoor community), what would it be?
It’s hard to pick one thing because there’s so much potential. I could easily opt for more river features for boaters, better event infrastructure for trail and open-water events, or we could absolutely use more dedicated staff and funding to maintain the resources we already love so much. In the end, though, if I’m being selfish: I’d go for accessible climbing on par with something like Pilot Mountain in NC, or even (dare to dream…) one of the New River Gorge’s climbing areas. Climbing is my favorite sport to travel for, and one outdoor activity I’d love to see grow here.
5). Is GO Fest happening in 2021?
Heck yes, it is – October 15-17. Like all events this year, there are new challenges to navigate coming out of the pandemic, but challenges are opportunities and you’re going to want to keep an eye out for news real soon.