6 best moments of Bridge Day 2016

From astonishing airborne feats to award-winning recipes, this year’s festival was pretty spectacular. Bridge Day 2016 had nearly 100,000 visitors! But if you didn’t get a chance to see everything, no worries. Here’s a recap of our favorite moments:

1. Novice jumpers making the big leap

Great-grandma Brenda Sue cheerfully marked a goal off her bucket list when she tandem BASE jumped the New River Gorge Bridge. She had already given skydiving a try, so she was game for another airborne thrill. You go, girl!

She was one of 16 tandem jumpers this year. We’ve got a couple open spots every Bridge Day— but they go fast, so if you want to take the leap next year, watch our social channels and newsletter to get the scoop!


2. Raising the flags, pretty uniquely

Anyone who jumps or rappels from the New River Gorge Bridge automatically wins our respect— but it takes unusual grit to take that 876 feet carrying a flag, too.

In the early hours, Kurt Waldron raised the Stars and Stripes while his friend, Michael Hopkins, gripped the West Virginia flag. Feats like that take incredible arm strength, and nerves of steel!

3. Cooking up big taste at the chili contest

BASE jumpers and rappellers weren’t the only ones with high stakes Bridge Day weekend. In the late afternoon, amateur chefs faced off at the Chili Cook-Off.

Although the competition was tight, Mike Hervey dazzled the judges with his traditional and non-traditional chili. He took home 2 blue ribbons and serious bragging rights.

The cornbread contest was a close one, too, since some inventive cooks baked theirs with sweet peppers, spices and fresh corn. But Lesley Taylor was victorious with her buttery recipe.

4. Top honors at Taste of Bridge Day

Taste of Bridge Day brought all the best regional cuisine gets cooked under 1 roof— and a few chefs took home top honors!

  • Best Appetizer: Smoked Shrimp with Bloody Butcher Grits— Smokey’s on the Gorge
  • Best Entree: Broccoli and Cavatelli with Sausage— Buffler’s
  • Best Dessert: Genoise Organic Chocolate Cream— Gumbo’s

5. Rescues

When BASE jumpers parachute off the New River Gorge Bridge, they aim for a tiny strip of land 876 feet below. Of course, not everyone hits the bullseye! Thankfully, there’s a safety crew to make help with every landing. This year, they pulled 92 jumpers out of the water (and back on land to go jump again!)

6. Sunshine

This year’s festival was one of the best ever, weather-wise! We hope you enjoyed the warm weather and bright sunshine as much as we did.

What was your favorite Bridge Day moment?