Bridge Day Regular Remembers Construction of the Iconic Span

Every year, tens of thousands of people from all corners of the world come to Fayetteville to celebrate Bridge Day. Hundreds of folks come together to make this event fun and safe for all involved. Our Community Series highlights people in the community & what they do to support Bridge Day. Each of the people who organize, coordinate and volunteer their time have a passion for West Virginia, Bridge Day and the community of the New River Gorge. These are their stories. Joan Dickerson has only missed 1 Bridge Day, and that was because there was a WVU home game.

During the construction of the Bridge, she and her husband walked down Route 19 every day to watch the progress. When the bridge was opened for people to walk across, she couldn’t have been happier. She still cherishes that memory today.

Joan was born and raised in Fayette County.  She’s 83, raised 8 kids, and has quite a few grand kids and great grand kids. A well-known local, she worked at the Fayetteville High School as the school secretary for 28 years. She’s retired now, and is very active with her senior citizens group. She loves to walk and work outside. She spends afternoons in her garden growing flowers.

What Bridge Day Means to Joan:

“Bridge Day means that I’m gonna meet a lot of my friends on the bridge, that my family is coming to visit me and that I do a lot of cooking— and I mean a lot of cooking. I usually try to have chili. If it’s cold out, and it usually is on Bridge Day, everyone loves chili. I’ll also make spaghetti, deviled eggs, and potato casserole. Of course all the kids want pop, but their parents don’t want them to have it, so that’s hard. I get lots of bottled water, and the coffee pot never stops. We have to have a blackberry cobbler. It was my husband’s favorite and all my kids expect it. We pick the blackberries all summer and freeze them. I make my batter with a little bit of sugar, flour and milk and black walnuts or pecans.”

Best Bridge Day Memory:

“Oh my gracious, I have lots of them. My best was the very first one. When the bridge was being built, we walked down to the bridge every day to see how much work they’d done. Then when they opened it for us to walk on, that was very special.”

Favorite Bridge Day Souvenir:

“The first sweatshirt that I bought at the first Bridge Day. It’s grey with a Bridge Day design on it. I still wear it.”

Favorite Bridge Day Food:  

“Oh my gracious, I love those funnel cakes. My step mother was the same as me. She’d come up and we’d walk together and head straight to get a funnel cake.”

Favorite Bridge Day Tradition:

“It’s having my family here with me. I love my family and I like having them come to see me.”

Most Exciting View:  

“I love to watch the BASE jumpers and look down and see the rafters on the river. I enjoy walking out there and seeing the people and all the different vendors.”