7 memorable moments from Bridge Day 2017

What was the best part of Bridge Day? All of it! But you know what they say: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Check out these memorable moments:

1. First flight

Marcus Ellison was the first BASE jumper for this year’s event. He recorded his flight, which you can watch online.

2. A Gorge-ous proposal

Bridge Day set the scene for this lucky— and creative— fiance. It looks like she said “yes!”

3. The scoop on cornbread

Reporter Kamrel Eppinger from TV 59 News was the celebrity cornbread judge for the Bridge Day Chili Cook-off. He gave the blue ribbon to The Station, Fayetteville’s new craft food restaurant.

4. And speaking of Bridge Day chili …

The talented Lesley Taylor won the Traditional Chili, Non-traditional Chili, and the People’s Choice awards. Brava!

5. Bridge Day 5k champs

Sign up for Active Southern West Virginia’s popular race, and you get to run across the New River Gorge Bridge. Not many courses are that unique. Glimpsing sunrise above the deep canyon makes Bridge Day 5k even better, too.

This year’s race attracted 241 racers from across the country. Wade Gerencser from Arizona won with a time of 18:49. Allison Meadows from Ohio earned second place at 20:02. Congrats!

6. Eyes in the sky

It’s hard to take a bad photo of the New River Gorge in autumn. Add bright parachutes to the mix, and you have a dramatic shot! But we have to admit, these stunning drone pictures by authorized pilot Tim Naylor are pretty spectacular.

7. Sustainable souvenirs

Did you manage to snag a Bridge Day memento? If not, good news! SustainU’s commemorative shirts are still available. These comfortable, striking shirts are made in America with recycled fabrics. SustainU also hails from West Virginia. You couldn’t ask for a better souvenir than that!

What was your favorite Bridge Day moment? We’d love to hear your story.

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Cool statistics from the world’s largest BASE jumping festival

For just 6 hours, once a year, Bridge Day becomes the focal point of extreme sports. Ever wanted to know exactly how many daredevils participated? The stats are in for 2017, so sit back and enjoy the numbers behind Bridge Day.

1. BASE jumping

No doubt about it: these parachuters steal the show. Witnessing someone soar from a 876-foot-high drop is an incredible experience. And since the New River Gorge Bridge is such an unusual launching point, hundreds of BASE jumpers arrive every year.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Total number of BASE jumpers: 348
  • Number of states represented: 33
  • Age of youngest BASE jumper: 20
  • Grand total of jumps: 714

This year’s festival also brought back the launch for BASE jumpers— a crowd favorite. It was used 30 times.

2. Rappellers

Bridge Day isn’t a one-trick pony. Rappellers add another dynamic to the spectacle, making it even more unique. They use ropes and safety equipment to descend from the catwalk. Using those same methods, rappellers can also ascend from the gorge.

Check out these stats:

  • Total number of participants: 329
  • Number of rappels: 963
  • Number of climbs: 69

3. Daring spectators

Not everybody can be a BASE jumper or rappeller. Bravery aside, both sports require lots of experience prior to Bridge Day. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to sightseeing. Provided you sign up in advance, it’s possible to do tandem BASE jumps with a pro. Another popular activity is the high line— a zip line attached to the catwalk.

See how many folks took the plunge:

  • Number of tandem BASE jumps: 18
  • High line rides: 98
  • Number of Bridge Walks: 164

Never heard of a Bridge Walk tour? These special outings on the catwalk are available all year. It’s a spectacular— and unforgettable— way to visit the New River Gorge.

4. Other noteworthy numbers

Like any event worth its salt, Bridge Day collects data that doesn’t fit into any particular category.

Take a look at this year’s haul:

  • Viewers from 12 different countries watched Bridge Day online.
  • The New River makes landings safe— another perk for BASE jumpers. This year, there were 95 water rescues.
  • The popular Bridge Day 5k attracted 241 runners. Racers ranged in age from 8-75 years old.

If you attended Bridge Day, feel free to share your favorite observation or bit of trivia!

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1 event, 13 restaurants: Taste of Bridge Day

What’s better than a buffet? Taste of Bridge Day, where top dishes from local restaurants are yours to enjoy! Here’s your preview to who’s cooking and what’s playing on Bridge Day eve.

What’s on the menu

It’s Friday night, right before the festival. What better way to celebrate than with a feast? That’s the spirit behind Taste of Bridge Day, held at Adventures on the Gorge in Lansing.

This year’s lineup includes:

  • Chetty’s Pub— Appalachian-inspired comfort food that’s imaginative and hearty
  • Woody’s— Award-winning wood-fired pizzas and specialty sandwiches
  • Cafe 110— Comforting West Virginia favorites
  • Gumbo’s— Zesty Louisiana and Cajun classics
  • Dobra Zupas— Artisan cuisine that’s seasonal and inspirational
  • Sweet T’s Bake Shop— Homemade treats, from pastries to cupcakes

… and much more! In fact, you’ll have to pick from 13 restaurants (tip: bring an appetite, preferably stoked by rafting or hiking). Taste of Bridge Day will also serve wine and craft beer. Bottoms up!

But let’s be honest: the food is the best part. Look forward to appetizers like crawfish etouffee and white bean chicken chili, paired with BBQ West Virginia-style baloney sliders. Other highlights include chicken French medallions, orecchiette pasta and bacon-and-blue stuffed potato pave.

Dessert is no slouch, either. Cinnamon rolls, spicy peach bread pudding and New York-style cheesecake are just the beginning. Pace yourself accordingly.

Entertainment

Taste of Bridge Day isn’t just an upscale sampling of the region’s best food. It’s also a relaxing event with gorgeous scenery, live music and vendors.

Location really sets it apart. Set above trees, the venue overlooks incredible mountain scenery. Watch as dusk settles over the colorful New River Gorge. It’s a delightful way to enjoy dinner with your family.

Live music also sets the mood. As you dine, listen to Common Houses, an acoustic band specializing in pop, bluegrass, and rock. Taste of Bridge Day will also host Danny Cooper, a talented bassist.

Taste of Bridge Day has lots of activities, too. New for this year is the “kids’ zone,” where families can dine or play. Enchant your tots with putt putt, face painting, super hero appearances and balloon art. Teenagers and adults can also shop for local artwork.

How it works

Hungry? Taste of Bridge Day is free to visit, but for dinner, you’ll need tasting tickets. Get them online, at the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce or at the event.

Tasting tickets are sold in $10 increments, with meal samples ranging from $1 to $7. Proceeds go towards Just For Kids, a charity for children.

Taste of Bridge Day is Oct. 20 from 5-9 p.m.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite Taste of Bridge Day dish?

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Announcing the 2017 Bridge Day poster!

The Fayette County Chamber is honored to announce this year’s Bridge Day Poster will again feature the artwork of NDTank.

NDTank’s submission was chosen from several submitted for the annual contest. This is the 12th year to offer the posters for sale as a souvenir to those coming to Bridge Day.

Designer and artist NDTank splits his time between personal projects and helping clients with their own ventures no matter what they may be. Inspired by time spent outdoors, he finds his niche captivating viewers with painterly landscapes and transporting them to a world of forested mountains and starlit skies. His creative spirit and respect for nature is reflected throughout his work.

His latest adventure is the launch of Lost Appalachia Trading Company, a lifestyle brand featuring apparel, home and camp goods influenced by the natural beauty and history of the Appalachian Mountains and sourced within the extended Appalachian region when possible. He invites you to follow along and get lost in the mountains.

NDTank makes his home in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia. Find him lost in the woods or at www.NDTank.com.

About the design

NDTank says, “For this year’s poster I wanted to capture the view from Long Point, one of the best places to take in views of the bridge and the New River Gorge. I hoped to emphasize the bridge as an icon of West Virginia surrounding it with other symbols of the state like the cardinal, black bear, and sugar maple leaves. And the bright colors were meant to tap in to the fun, excitement and energy that always surrounds Bridge Day!”

Social

Instagram: @ndtank
Twitter: @ndtankdesign
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ndtankdesign

NDTank will have a booth in the south roadside vendor area space #116 with examples of his work for sale. The posters will be at the Official Bridge Day booth on bridge day or before by calling the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce at 304-465-5617. NDTank looks forward to you stopping by his booth which will be open 9AM-3PM on Bridge Day, October 21, 2017.

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