The annual Bridge Day festival offers a fun experience for the whole family


Autumn Jessee, Reporter

On October 20, 2018, the annual Bridge Day festival was held in Fayette County. Bridge Day is West Virginia’s largest single-day festival and one of the largest extreme sports events in the world. The festival is held on the third Saturday in October. This year marked the 39th Bridge Day; the first time the festival was held was in 1980, and it has been held every years since, except 2001.

Bridge Day

One of the best reasons to visit the festival is the majesty of the the bridge. It is the longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere; it measures at 1700 feet long.  The New River Gorge Bridge is 3030 feet long, and it weighs 4,400 tons. The man hours for design calculations and drawings is equivalent to one person working 40 hours per week for 15 years. The bridge took a total of three years to build: 1973-1977.

The festival offers a wonderful family experience, with a variety of vendors set up on both sides of the bridge. There are many different food and artisan vendors, as well as several informational vendors. Another attraction if the festival is the BASE jumpers. The daredevils flock to the bridge each year to plummet a whopping 876 feet to the river below.

While the weather might be daunting for some, it is rarely a deterrent for true fans of the festival.  The only place that it is ever as cold as predicted is on the bridge itself. The stretches that are blocked off and set up with vendors are much warmer. So shying away because of the cold is no reason not to attend the Bridge Day festival.

Bridge Day scenery

Attending the annual Bridge Day festival is a fun experience for all who attend. All of the vendors and attractions are interactive, and offer something for everyone. The Bridge Day jumpers are also a sight to see. Visiting the New River Gorge Bridge is a wonderful experience everyday of the year, but is even better during the festival.