Mark your calendars, the 36th annual Bridge Day is only a few weeks away!
On October 17th, the New River Bridge in Fayette County, the world’s fourth longest single arch bridge, will be closed to automobile traffic for approximately 10 hours to allow for one of the world’s largest extreme sporting events. Bridge Day allows hundreds of BASE jumpers, rappellers, and high liners to plunge off the 876 foot (approximately 80 stories) high bridge to land on the banks of the New River. It is also the only day in which the bridge is open to foot traffic, allowing spectators to view the New River Gorge from this unique angle.
Vehicle traffic will be closed on the bridge from 7am to approximately 5pm, with BASE jumpers parachuting off the bridge from 9am-3pm. Rappellers will be descending and ascending ropes attached to the beams of the bridge, and the general public will be allowed to high line from the bridge’s catwalk to a road below, dropping over 300 vertical feet and travelling nearly 700 feet. Over 80,000 spectators are expected to not only watch the BASE jumpers, but to take in the breathtaking view of the New River Gorge, one of the oldest rivers on the continent. Spectators can also enjoy hundreds of vendors lining the half a mile long bridge, selling food, crafts, souvenirs, and funnel cakes!
While adrenaline junkies have the opportunity to get their fix on Saturday, Bridge Day is a weekend long event. On Friday the 16th from 5-9pm, the Oak Hill and Fayetteville Rotary Clubs will host their annual “Taste of Bridge Day” charity event at the Smokey’s On the Gorge restaurant. At this event, restaurants and cookeries from all over the state will offer sample sized portions of their most popular dishes. Sample prices range from 1-5 tickets each, each ticket priced at $1.
For even more culinary action, the 7th annual “Bridge Day Chili Cook-Off” takes place Saturday the 17th in downtown Fayetteville. Attendees can purchase a pack of 5 tasting tickets and a set of beads for $5, using the tickets to sample the desired chili, and the beads to cast their vote for their favorite. Cornbread will also be judged, and winners can win anywhere from $15 to $100. Chili tasting and judging takes place between 3-5pm, with awards given out at 5:15pm. Starting at 2pm. live music will be provided by the band Three Card Monte.
Rounding out the Bridge Day weekend is “Bridge Jam”, a family friendly Bluegrass and craft brew festival taking place at the Cascade Festival Grounds in Fayetteville. Bridge Jam runs from 10am-10pm on Saturday, and features 6 unique Bluegrass bands: Common Houses, Illusionary Field Unit, The Rarely Herd, Colton Pack, Jerry Douglas and the Earls of Leicester, and Sam Bush. Adult tickets are $22, and $25 at the door.
It’s not too late to register for the events of Bridge Day! The schedule of events, shuttle information, and directions can be found on the offical Bridge Day website.
Contributed by: Isabella White, blogger and UCSOP Graduate Intern.