Bridge Day Community: What Drives Commission Chair to Put in All Those Hours

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. Bridge Day

Sharon Cruikshank is a West Virginia native, and since 1997 she’s been the Executive Director of the New River Gorge CVB. She’s also Chair of the Bridge Day Commission.

“I just really love Fayette County and all of the amazing things there are for people to do here, and I am so happy to be able to help organize Bridge Day,” she said.

Bridge day takes months and months of planning, and the coordination of hundreds of folks, all working together. Sharon enjoys connecting with all the folks who come back year after year. It’s the people that make this event so special.

This year, she’s looking forward to having the Whiskey 7, the famous National Warplane Museum’s C-47 Aircraft, fly at Bridge Day. The Whiskey 7, which flew in the D-day Invasion, will fly the US Flag, and also deploy the All Veterans Parachute Team, including retired members of the famous Golden Knights, into the New River Gorge.

While she’s excited to have this historic and famous plane at Bridge Day, she also knows it will also be personal and sentimental for her and her family.

My Uncle served in the War as a pilot and he never made it home,” she said. “I know when I see that plane, I will think of him.  I’ll have tears in my eyes as I honor his sacrifice and the sacrifice of all of our veterans. It will be bittersweet.”

When she’s not working, Sharon enjoys making stained glass, reading (right now she’s reading “Miss Peregrine’s Hollow City” by Ransom Riggs), and enjoying time with her family out and about in Fayette County.

Sharon's Bridge Day Favorites: 

Best Bridge Day Memory: Any Bridge Day when it’s 70 degrees and sunny. That’s always a good day.

Favorite Bridge Day Souvenir: Jewelry. I love the Bling! I love the Tamarack artisans and seeing all the fun new styles our vendors bring.

Favorite Bridge Day Food: I usually don’t eat during Bridge Day. I have my last Red Bull at 6:30 a.m., and then I’m on the go answering questions and helping folks all day. If I get a chance, I will pick-up a fried Oreo from Mad Concessions.

Favorite Bridge Day Tradition: Having dinner with my team. Bridge Day shuts down at 3. We facilitate the breakdown, debrief at the CVB office and then we have dinner at Los Voqueros in Oak Hill. By 8:30 p.m., I’m usually fast asleep.

Most Exciting View:  I love all the action and the shopping, so I have 2 most exciting views. One is down at the river to watch the rappellers and BASE jumpers, and the other is up on the bridge where shopaholics like me can hit the merchant tents and get great deals.

"At the end of the day, finishing the event with everyone safe and sound is the best gift ever," she said.