Celebrating Chess at the 2019 Festival in the Park

The Roanoke Valley Chess Club brought its popular 'Chess-tival' event once again to the annual Festival in the Park in downtown Roanoke. This major celebration takes place every Memorial Day weekend in Elmwood Park, and generally attracts thousands of participants. The Chess Club convened on Saturday, May 25, at its customary site along Elm Avenue.

The weather was sunny and unusually hot that weekend, but at least we had no rain to contend with (as last year). This was fortunate, since Festival organizers did not furnish tents this time. The RVCC moved its tables and chairs (from Aztec Rental) to the shelter of a large tree nearby, to escape the sun's rays and heat. Club President Mike Huff brought about 12 chess sets and boards, plus promotional props.

Club members who came out Saturday to play the public included Sam Kennedy, Ben Dubuque, Drew Gripp, Isaac Spence, the father-and-son William Villarreal duo, NM Russell Potter , former RVCC President Richard White and RVCC Champion of 1962, Franklin Myers, among others.

Crowds were very light at Festival this year - perhaps due to temperatures in the 90s. Despite the sparse attendance, we managed to collect six contact cards from people interested in our club. On Sunday, Sam and Mike returned to Elmwood Park with just a few chess sets to represent the club informally; however, we still did not see many festival-goers.

We want to recognize the volunteers from Roanoke Festival in the Park, Inc. for reserving our space and delivering our chairs and tables. Thanks also to Pam Ulrich (our contact person this year) and all the other fine folks who helped make our event possible.

This event is part of the Roanoke Valley Chess Club's ongoing commitment to promote the great game of chess in the region, and-- as always-- is 100% FREE to the general public.

(Submitted by Mike Huff)