Every October, for one Saturday, the New River Gorge Bridge is transformed into the site of West Virginia’s largest single day festival. For those of you Bridge Day first-timers, here’s the skinny on this wonderful fall event.
What is Bridge Day?
Bridge Day celebrates the New River Gorge Bridge, the area, and the fall season. Its humble beginnings were actually just a dedication ceremony for the Bridge on October 22, 1977. The public was allowed to walk on and view this magnificent structure and its beautiful surroundings. The turnout for the opening ceremony was much greater than anticipated. So a couple of years later, the first Bridge Day was born.
That year, 1980, 5,500 certificates were given to folks walking all the way across the Bridge. An estimated crowd of close to 40,000 people let the organizers know that this event could grow into something great. The rest, they say, is history.
When is Bridge Day?
Bridge Day happens every year on the third Saturday in October. The date was chosen to take advantage of the beauty of autumn in southern WV. The Bridge is constructed from Cor-Ten steel; it is designed to form a layer of rust as a protective barrier. This rust gives the Bridge a dark reddish-orange color that blends in wonderfully with the colors of the fall foliage.
What Is There To Do on Bridge Day?
Bridge Day celebrates its 33rd birthday this year, and it’s been evolving since the very beginning. There are plenty of things to see and do during Bridge Day. The only hard part may be deciding how you want to spend yours.
Bridge Day 2012 Happenings:
- WOAY Taste of Bridge Day - This event takes place at Adventures On The Gorge the Friday before Bridge Day. It showcases cuisine from WV restaurants. Diners receive tickets that are good for ‘sampling’ plates from the many restaurants dishing up their specialties. The event is put on by local Rotary clubs and the proceeds benefit local charities.
- BASE Jumping – Some 400+ BASE jumpers make the annual trip to the Bridge to take advantage of the only day of the year it’s legal to parachute there. In the past, the public has only been able to watch these jumpers. But now you can actually BE one of the jumpers. Tandem jumps are available to a few qualified individuals willing to pay for the experience.
- High Line – A 700-foot slide down a rope from the Bridge to the side of the Gorge. Sound like fun? Trust us, it is. If you’re the adventurous type that wants to be one of the daredevils of Bridge Day, consider the High Line.
- Rappelling – Another Bridge Day activity that is a crowd pleaser. Teams of 12-16 people can register to rappel the Bridge on Bridge Day. Registration records show that 1/3 of participants are first time rappellers. What a way to start your rappelling career!
- And don’t forget about vendors on the Bridge selling food, crafts, and other items. We recommend the funnel cake.
For a different perspective, consider going down into the Gorge and watching the action from under the Bridge. There are two ways to get there: on foot or by shuttle.
The Town of Fayetteville also gets into the act, hosting a car show, street music, cornhole competition, Chili Cook-Off and other activities. Fayetteville is just a short distance from the Bridge.
Is Bridge Day 2012 going to be your first?