If your friends told you to jump off a bridge, would you? Maybe it’d be smarter to just watch more experienced adventurers take the plunge. You can at West Virginia’s annual Bridge Day. Taking place on Saturday, October 21, the Mountain State’s largest single-day festival will once again bring crowds of people together to watch hundreds of BASE jumpers leap from the New River Gorge Bridge.
According to the event’s website: “This is the only day each year thousands of spectators can walk across the bridge and watch as serious BASE jumpers get their chance to fly 876 feet into the Gorge below and rappellers ascend and descend from the catwalk.”
The first Bridge Day took place on November 8, 1980, when over 5,500 people walked across the bridge to take in the scenery and watch two people parachute onto the structure from a plane.
Last year, according to a story from WVVA, there were nearly 800 jumps off the bridge.
Construction of the New River Gorge Bridge began in 1974 in hopes of allowing Route 19 to cross the rugged gorge. Once completed three years later, the bridge at the time was the largest arch bridge in the world at 3,030 feet long, 876 feet high, 70 feet wide, and weighing 88 million pounds. It was officially opened and dedicated on October 22, 1977.
In celebration of the New River Gorge Bridge, Bridge Day takes place every year on the third Saturday of October, closing the surrounding roads to motor traffic to host thousands of festival attendees. The event schedule also includes a 5K across the bridge, historic rides down Fayette Station Road, walking the bridge’s 24” wide catwalk, live music, local vendors, and whitewater rafting on the New’s wild rapids under the bridge.
Find more information here.
Cover photo: Fog in the morning going under the New River Gorge Bridge. Courtesy of Getty Images.