Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Bridge Day 2016

In late September, I showcased five fun things to do in West Virginia in the fall.  One of the activities I included was the Bridge Day celebration that commemorates the anniversary of the completion of the New River Gorge Bridge.  If you are unfamiliar with New River Gorge Bridge, it is the iconic landmark that is featured on the back of the state quarter.

Held annually on the third Saturday in October, Bridge Day is the only day of the year in which pedestrians are allowed on the bridge and when BASE jumping is legal.  An estimated 80,000 people attended this year's event; my aunt and I were two of the attendees.  Here are some of the pictures I captured of the event:

The New River Gorge

The third Saturday in October is the only day of the year in which BASE jumping is legal.

Tandem BASE jumpers

Tandem BASE jumpers preparing to take the leap
The New River Gorge Bridge as viewed from one of the National Park's observation decks.

Bridge Day is also the only day of the year in which pedestrians are allowed on the New River Gorge Bridge

For lunch, I indulged in a West Virginian invention and delicacy, the pepperoni roll

I dedicated an entire blog post to this food back in April.  Check it out here.

My aunt and I on the bridge.  It was a tad bit windy, as evidenced by my hair.

Rafts lining up to go through the rapids that are almost directly under the bridge

A raft navigating the rapids

You can see the parachute of the BASE jumper (black with blue stripe) mixed in with the blue white water rafts

At the end of the day, my aunt and I shared a funnel cake.

My aunt and I both had a wonderfully good time and on our way home, we both wondered why we waited so long to do it.

If you are ever in southern West Virginia on the third Saturday in October and want to check out the Bridge Day festivities, I highly recommend it.  There are a few things to keep in mind, though:
  1. The festivities happen rain or shine.  Be prepared for various types of weather.  Also, keep in mind that its windy on the bridge and therefore cooler.
  2. Be prepared for crowds and the crowds get larger as the day goes on.  If you want a spot right up against the edge of the bridge to view the BASE jumping, go early.  Sometimes people get a prime spot and never leave it.  My aunt and I lucked up and got a spot after waiting 45 minutes and that was by pure accident.
  3. Utilize the shuttle buses that are available for a minimal fee ($2 roundtrip this year).  This will keep you out of the traffic trying to park close to the bridge.
  4. If you would like a different perspective of the BASE jumping, you can also view it from below the bridge.  To get down into the gorge, one can take an appropriately named "Into the Gorge" shuttle.  Keep in mind, however, that reservations are required, a fee is charged, and that tickets usually sell out in advance.  My aunt and I plan to do this the next time we go.  For more information, click here.

Have you ever been to Bridge Day?  If so, what did you think about the experience?

Have a wonderful Wednesday and thanks for stopping by!

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