Arts, Leisure and Sports

Venues are stepping up and music acts are populating the schedule of this year’s Down by Downtown Music Festival. As WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno reports headliner Morgo Price is just the tip of the iceberg.

The Freedom First Down by Downtown music festival is gearing up to show natives and all the tourists coming to town for the Blue Ridge Marathon a good time. The four day festival spotlights more than a dozen local venues as well as local and national musicians. WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno has more.

The Science Museum of Western Virginia is opening its new planetarium called “The Eye” tonight — for a soft opening. Executive Director for the Museum, Mary Roberts Baako describes it.

The Eye will have tickets sold separately when there’s a scheduled show. Hear much more about “The Eye Planetarium” tomorrow during The Roanoke Valley’s Morning News from 6 to 9 am.

Photo from Science Museum of Western Virginia website

The Salem Museum Speaker Series continues next Thursday with Scott Crawford sharing his insights into Gilber Stuart’s iconic portrait of George Washington. WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno has more.


Stuart Gilbert’s iconic portrait of George Washington is the topic of the next Salem Museum Speaker Series. The painting is known as The Lansdown Portrait. In it Gilbert incorprates imagery of Noah and the Flood. Scott Crawford is the President of CEO of Virginia 811. He also holds a Master’s in Colonial American History. Crawford will share his insights on the artists us of imagery and hopes this encourages people to slowdown and really examine works of art.

You can join the presentation February 8th at 7pm via zoom. We will have a link at


EB Smith -left – and Ginger Poole-center. Clark Palmer photo

The Mountaintop at Mill Mountain Theatre at Center in the Square depicts Dr. Martin Luther King’s last night at the Lorraine Motel, where he encounters a mysterious maid – in an award-winning play which reveals King’s “profound humanity.”  Ginger Poole, producing artistic director for Mill Mountain Theatre, and actor E.B. Smith, who portrays Dr. King, were live in studio this morning.


Producing Artistic Director Ginger Poole with Mill Mountain Theatre was in the WFIR Studio this morning where she discussed what she is most proud of as she departs. WFIR’s Alex Torres has more:

Every play you have ever seen was new once. In the Roanoke area theater goers have a chance to see the best of the best at the 2024 Winter Festival of New Works. WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno has more.

The 2024 Winter Festival of New Works is a partnership between Hollins and Mill Mountain theater. As WFIR’s Denise Allen Membreno reports two plays will be featured over the next two weekends.