Women laughing and enjoying one of the outside events in the NRV.

There’s No Excuse for Being Bored in the NRV

While Virginia’s New River Valley may be a collection of small towns, the amount of things to do here is anything but small. There are tons of events in the NRV.

In fact, there are tons of events in the NRV daily. Whether it’s large, nationally acclaimed annual festivals, or weekly happy hours, these small towns are more bustling than ever.

According to Jami Ryan of NextThreeDays.com, a regional website featuring nearly all the events in the NRV, there were 4,927 Featured Events in our region in 2017. That means these events don’t reoccur weekly.

That’s right. Almost 5,000 one-time events for residents in the NRV.

That comes to 13.5 big events each day.

“I used to hear ‘there’s nothing to do’ all the time from my friends in college who grew up in the city or in more populous areas and came to the NRV for school,” said Ryan. “In fact, this is one of the reasons why I created NextThreeDays because, having spent most of my life in our region, I knew it wasn’t true. And, since I’ve been running NextThreeDays, I can say emphatically that ‘there’s nothing to do’ in the New River Valley is completely false.”

To fight the misconception of lack of events in the NRV, Ryan uses NextThreeDays.com as a place where those events can be easily found: an ever-changing database of fun for all residents of the NRV.

It’s about more than just the amount of events in the NRV too; there is a solid variety as well. Because he sees almost all the events in the NRV, Ryan understands the diversity of activities offered here.

“I would like people to know that there is truly something for everyone,” said Ryan. “Whether it’s looking for live music, finding a local festival, a craft brewery, fun for the kids, the dogs or whomever or whatever your interests are, the NRV has something fun to offer. For example, two years ago I heard about the NRV Historic Dance Society. This group of local residents was formed to teach and celebrate English country dancing in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries. We also regularly include outdoor games for the Laser Tag Club at Virginia Tech on NextThreeDays and just this week there was a Root Beer Tasting and Sommelier Certification. And, these are just three of the many events that are happening in the NRV. So my point is, there is truly something for everyone no matter your interests.

On top of that, there’s also plenty to do that’s free. Who doesn’t love free?

“There are so many events that have either free admission or the ticket cost is very low,” said Ryan. “Sure, there are a number of dinners, galas and events that are expensive, but there are many, many more events that have free admission. In 2014, I created and completed the 31 Days of NRV Fun Challenge where I had to attend 31 or more events at 31 unique venues and spent no more than $7.00 a day. I was able to accomplish the feat and still had $12.00 leftover at the end.”

“And, this summer I did a 50 Events in 50 Days Challenge and most of the events I attended were free or very inexpensive. Both Radford University and Virginia Tech have wonderful arts, theatre and music programs and many of their performances are free as are many of the universities’ educational activities. Numerous restaurants offer free live music throughout the week and many of our area towns and bigger organizations hosts free festivals throughout the year.”

“And, that doesn’t even count the non-football and basketball collegiate athletics and our public libraries where all events are free. So it’s fairly easy to get out of your home and to find an event to enjoy for a couple of hours and spend $10.00 or less.”

Woman shimmies across rope at Muddy ACCE Race, an adventure race. One of the many events in the NRV, specifically Giles County.

The Muddy ACCE Race in Giles County is one of the many events in the NRV. The sign up fee for this muddy adventure race help fund local students’ community college tuition.

If you’re looking for something to do or specific events in the NRV, check out what’s going on at NextThreeDays.com. The same information also populates to the Live Here page.

For more information about Virginia’s New River Valley, check out Our Region and what it’s like to Live Here.

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Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of all worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

Virginia Tech Students Ranked #19 Happiest

Blacksburg, VA – In a recently conducted survey by The Princeton Review, Virginia Tech students ranked the #19 happiest students on college campuses in the U.S. The study covered almost 400 colleges and universities and was based on real student input on their college experience.

The Princeton Review asks students questions about:

  • Academics & administration
  • Life at their college
  • Fellow students; and
  • Themselves
  • To see the complete Top 20 visit The Princeton Review or Town & Country.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Virginia Tech Ranked #3 Best College Campus

    Blacksburg, VA – Niche, a company that helps people find schools and communities, ranked the Virginia Tech campus as the No. 3 best college campus in the U.S. The ranking was based on information from the U.S. Department of Education, which included statistics and student reviews of classrooms, labs, performance venues, housing, food, rec facilities, and more.

    Virginia Tech has a beautiful campus and many amenities for students to live healthy and fulfilling lives. View some photos below.

    See the complete Top 10 at Niche or Town & Country.

    The NRV is also home to three other outstanding higher education institutes: Radford University, New River Community College, and the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    NRV Among Top Affordable Metros Attracting YPs

    NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA- Virginia’s New River Valley (The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA) ranks among the top metros that are attracting young professionals while maintaining an affordable cost of living. According to PEW, the NRV is among 10 metros that are growing almost as quickly as other well-known, attractive cities for young people like Silicon Valley or Austin, TX, but have more affordable costs of living.  

    Still Affordable, But Attracting Young Professionals

    These metro areas ranked high for affordability, education, and growth in young professionals.
    Columbus, INBismarck, ND
    Midland, MIMorgantown, WV
    Bloomington, ILCedar Rapids, IA
    Idaho Falls, IDNew River Valley, VA
    Sioux Falls, NDRochester, MN
    The data comes from the American Community Survey and was analyzed by Stateline.
    Virginia’s New River Valley, has a unique opportunity for young professionals. Our region enjoys the upscale amenities residents might find in larger urban areas (like public transit and fine dining), while maintaining the perks of low-cost living and small-town charm (like low traffic, and access to outdoor recreation).   The presence of Virginia Tech, Radford University, and New River Community College elevate the importance of education in the region and provide excellent amenities in arts and culture and opportunities for young people and businesses alike to interact with the universities and benefit from their services.  
    The NRV was also ranked a top destination for college graduates based on eight economic and quality-of-life factors that AIER found to influence migration patterns of college grads ages 22-35 among 260 metro areas, large and small. A few of the factors contributing to the New River Valley’s high ranking included its favorable labor market conditions, affordable housing rents, ability to get around without a car, and density of people with a college degree.
    YPs can find plenty of support in the NRV with clubs and networking opportunities such as Up on the Roof, Blacksburg YPs, The Newcomers Club, and more.   Plus, the NRV is home to a myriad of festivals and burgeoning local music scenes that keep up with the times while remembering the roots of SWVA throughout history. For more activities and insight on what it’s like to live in the NRV, check out the Live Here tab!  
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      Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.   Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.
    Advanced Manufacturing welder

    NRV Receives Top Rankings in Virginia in the ‘Best of the Southern Auto Corridor’

    NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA– Virginia’s New River Valley is mentioned as some of the best spots in Virginia by Southern Business & Development magazine’s Best of the Southern Auto Corridor list.

    In four out of the ten categories, the NRV was mentioned 7 times. Businesses and assets mentioned include: Volvo, Federal Mogul, Corning, VTTI, and NRCC.

    The Volvo Trucks assembly plant is located in Dublin, VA in Pulaski County. The plant is Volvo’s largest hub for manufacturing and employs approx. 2,000 people.

    The Virginia Tech Transportation Institute has a 2.2 mile Smart Road that can simulate weather like rain, snow, or fog, and is used to advance transportation and autonomous technology.

    New River Community College has one of the best programs for automotive worker training. There is even a dedicated staff member at NRCC that works to support Volvo’s training needs.

    In general, Virginia is an excellent place to locate a business in the automotive or advanced manufacturing industry. The law structure and central location to South, Northeast, and Midwest markets make it a very strategic location. Specifically, I-81 runs through the heart of the New River Valley and the region in close proximity to interstates 77 and 64 via I-81, making interstate access easy and convenient.

    Falling Branch Corporate Park

    Montgomery and Pulaski counties were also mentioned as some of the best places for automotive parts suppliers. There are sites in both counties that would make an excellent fit for businesses in the automotive or advanced manufacturing industries. In Montgomery County, the Falling Branch Corporate Park is an excellent option. The park has graded sites ranging from 3 to 16.7 acres and the county recently acquired an additional 124 acres to develop larger sites. Just off I-81 and highway 460, this park is ready for a new tenant.

    NRV Commerce Park

    Pulaski County also offers the New River Valley Commerce Park, this site is certified by McCallum Sweeney as an American Electric Power (AEP) Quality Site. The park has robust infrastructure and boasts sites up to 120 acres.

    SheaDawn Park Rail

    SheaDawn Park, a private development in Pulaski County, also boast excellent infrastructure and a rail spur. Twenty-two miles of the Crescent and Heartland rail corridors converge in Virginia’s New River Valley, which is easily accessible at ShaeDawn.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    NRV Homecoming Tailgate Wrap Up

    Virginia’s New River Valley had a blast tailgating the Virginia Tech homecoming football game. The set up was visited by an estimate of over 2,000 people, plus there were an innumerable amount of impressions of the new NRV brand. Branded materials included the tent, table cover, stickers, t-shirts, spinner wheel, signs, corn hole boards, and more.

    The purpose of the tailgate was to increase visibility of the new NRV regional brand and to help attendees understand that the NRV is more than just a college town. Onward NRV sought to specifically reach Virginia Tech alumni who are aware of VT campus, Blacksburg, and the immediate surrounding area and expand their attention to the entire region. We want to connect with alumni so they know more about the broader spectrum lifestyle amenities and business opportunities in an area they already love, and they know who to contact for more information.

    The Tailgate was located on Cassell Drive off Beamer Way — the perfect spot to stop by on the way to Lane Stadium. Onward staff and volunteers gave away 500 pom-poms, 450 t-shirts, and tons of candy and NRV stickers. Over 350 people signed up for the New River Raffle after spinning our mini wheel of fortune to win extra NRV goodies like t-shirts, pom-poms, and candy.

    Thanks again to all of our volunteers and allies who stopped by to support Virginias New River Valley and the mission of Onward NRV. A special thank you to our partners from Montgomery County, Town of Christiansburg, Floyd County, Giles County, and the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. Thank you to Obis One, Spindrift Local Wear, Holiday Inn NRV, The Blacksburg Partnership, and Phoenix Hardwoods.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Roanoke Times: NRV to Lure Robots to Town as Autonomous Industry Booms

    BLACKSBURG, VA– The NRV begins training part of its focus on the Unmanned Systems industry with a tour of Virginia Tech’s new drone cage and the Smart Road at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute at the end of a conference hosted by the Ridge and Valley chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.

    Photos by Matt Gentry, Roanoke Times

    Read more from regional leaders like John Provo, director of the Virginia Tech Office of Economic Development; Charlie Jewell, executive director of Onward NRV; and Michael Fleming, CEO of TORC Robotics in the full Roanoke Times article.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.

    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    NRV #10 in High-Tech Employment Concentration

    New River Valley, VA – The Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA (commonly known as Virginia’s New River Valley) is the 10th most concentrated metro for number of jobs in high-tech industry, according to an analysis by Select USA. Of jobs in the NRV, 24.5% are in the high-tech industry. According to the analysis, high tech jobs are those that, “rely heavily on a skilled and educated workforce, act as innovative producers in our economy, and create and utilize advanced technologies.”


    Because of the current base of technologically advanced jobs in the NRV and the region’s suitability for hosting this job market, Information Technology is one of the target industries of focus for the NRV. Our focus on Information Technology can be broken down into 4 sub-categories: Software Development, IT Support Services, Cybersecurity, and Digital Creatives. High-tech jobs also fall under other targeted industries in the NRV like Unmanned Systems and Advanced Manufacturing.


    Virginia’s New River Valley has some of the best access to talent in tech industries. Considering it is a great place to live with a more affordable, down-to-earth culture, and exceptional access to research and innovation, the NRV is a natural fit for growing high-tech companies.


    For more information about the Select USA high-tech industry study, click here.

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    Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for a beautiful place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.


    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.

    Visitors from VEDP stand at the Falling Branch Corporate Park on a beautiful day.

    VEDP Visits Virginia’s New River Valley

    Sixteen team members from Virginia Economic Development Partnership, hosted by Onward NRV staff, visited Virginia’s New River Valley from August 23-24 to learn more about the region’s communities and targeted industries.

    A group from VEDP prepares to tour the Phoenix Packaging facility in Pulaski County, Virginia

    With an aggressive schedule, the team was able to make 15 stops on their short tour.

    Robotic manufacturing arm at New River Community College in Pulaski County, Virginia

    For Advanced Manufacturing, visits included a tour of Phoenix Packaging in Pulaski County and a tour and lunch at New River Community College to see the training programs in Electronics Technology, Instrumentation and Control Automation, and more.

    The group was only willing to leave the 3D printers and unmanned robotics to view open sites in the NRV suited for manufacturing companies. (Former GE/Fairchild Building in Giles County, NRV Commerce Park in Pulaski County, Falling Branch Corporate Park in Montgomery County)


    To learn more about Information Technology in the NRV, the group toured Rackspace to learn about existing industry and Radford University’s ARTIS lab, which provides a top-knotch learning environment for students who leave ready to enter the workforce.

    Sign on the window of Radford University Artis Lab in Radford, VA

    The group was also able to see suitable sites for IT companies such as the Floyd Innovation Center and Wheatland EcoPark in Giles County.

    Outside the Floyd Innovation Center in Floyd County, VA.

    Information about Food and Beverage Processing manifested in a tour of the Virginia Tech Food Science and Technology facilities including the Sensory Evaluation Lab, Food Safety Pilot Plant, the on campus brewhouse, and more.

    A tour and wine tasting at Chateau Morrissette in Floyd County gave VEDP an inside look at existing industry in the NRV as well.

    Outside of Chateau Morrissette in the mountains of Floyd County, VA.

    The beauty of Virginia’s New River valley was not overlooked. The traveling during to tour allowed for beautiful scenic routes and stops at mountainous overlooks. A delicious breakfast at the Pete Dye River Course in Radford, VA provided an additional view of the New River. Meals during the tour were catered by Prestons at the River, The Blue Door Cafe at Draper Mercantile, The Palisades, and The Floyd Country Store.

    The tour ended with a visit to New Rivers Edge Outfitters, which gave the crew a taste of the outdoors and a look at what living in Giles County and the rest of the New River Valley is like: A Natural Fit.

    New RIvers Edge Outfitters
    COO of Qualtrax, and IT Company in Blacksburg, VA, in Virginia's New River Valley.

    NRV 3rd Among Metros with High Ratio of IT Graduates to Jobs

    NEW RIVER VALLEY, VA- The Blacksburg metro, known locally as the New River Valley, recently ranked 3rd out of 25 among metros with high ratio of IT graduates to IT jobs. This ranking was published in the July/August edition of Expansion Solutions Magazine based on information in 2015 when the New River Valley had 1,000 IT graduates, putting the ratio of graduates to jobs at 1:1.


    The New River Valley is home to three higher education institutions that offer a range of degrees in IT, including:

    • Virginia Tech: Department of Computer Science, Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and the Business Information Technology Department
    • Radford University Artis Information Technology Department
    • New River Community College Information Technology Department

    The New RIver Valley has a growing IT industry. According to data from The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, from 2011-2016 the New River Valley as a whole has nearly 2,000 IT employees, marking a significant increase of 35% since 2011, which is well above both the state (3%) and national (12%) averages.


    Bike with Rackspace logo for employees to ride around the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center

    This puts IT companies in a place to thrive in Virginia’s New River Valley. Currently with 154 IT establishments, the NRV is becoming an IT hub that benefits from a lower cost of living and better quality of life for employees. Onward NRV, the region’s economic development organization has identified IT as a target industry for the New River Valley and is collaborating with leaders from business, government, and higher education to support and grow the sector in the region.


    Overall, the IT industry offers a range of occupations and high average earnings. The presence of multiple higher education institutions, which offer programs and graduates in various technology related subjects provides a regional advantage. Based on recent job growth, industry presence, and related criteria, the IT sectors of focus for the region are Software Development, Cyber Security, IT Support Services, and Digital Creative Firms.


    Female 1901 Group employee at computer with a mountainous backdrop.

    Some current IT companies and major employers in the New River Valley include Qualtrax, Rackspace, FoxGuard Solutions, Citizens Cooperative, and Modea.


    For more information about IT in the NRV visit the Targeted Industry Page on our website. For any additional questions, feel free to contact Onward NRV.


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    Virginia’s New River Valley: For those searching for an inspiring place to live and do business, Virginia’s New River Valley provides both an eclectic small town atmosphere and an innovative, collaborative business community with a loyal, highly skilled, and educated workforce. Offering the best of both worlds – magnificent mountains, cutting-edge research, arts, entertainment, and education – it’s A NATURAL FIT.


    Onward NRV: Onward NRV is a public/private, regional economic development organization whose mission is to attract and retain world class jobs, investment and talent in Virginia’s New River Valley. It’s also a movement where leaders from business, government, and higher education work together to promote the economic vitality of the region.