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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Go “Into the Gorge” on Bridge Day!

What’s better than watching BASE jumpers from the New River Gorge Bridge? How about sitting in the canyon itself, 900 feet below! Here’s how.

Into the Gorge shuttle rides

It’s a sight like no other: BASE jumpers soaring right towards you. Skimming the New River, they meet the landing zone, one after the other.

Would you like to be at the scene of the action? Just take an “Into the Gorge” shuttle ride on Bridge Day! For $25 a ticket, you’ll get a priceless perspective like no other. Abus will take you down into the Gorge and drop you off, providing you with the opportunity to watch Bridge Day from a completely different angle. Pack a lunch, sit near the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge and soak up glorious autumn foliage while you watch BASE jumpers fly. If you look carefully, you’ll also spot rappellers. This is your best opportunity to see them, dangling below the Bridge. There’s no time limit for how long you can stay in the Gorge, but it’s recommended that you get on the bus to come back up to the bridge by 3 pm.

Energizing and uplifting, it’s an experience to treasure. Kids really get a kick out of it, too.

So how do you reserve that shuttle ride?

It’s easy. Call the Fayette Chamber of Commerce at 304-465-5617. Spaces are limited and always sell out before Bridge Day. If you think friends or family members want to tag along, now’s the time to order those tickets!

What do you think is better: viewing BASE jumpers from above or below? Why? Share your thoughts with us!




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Feeling lucky? Win a tandem BASE raffle ticket!

All it takes is one special ticket. Win one, and you can fly with other BASE jumpers at Bridge Day, America’s biggest BASE jumping festival!

Your license to fly

Tandem BASE jump

Raffle tickets for this incredible opportunity are now on sale. You have until September to try your luck, so cross those fingers and enter today!

Rules for this year’s tandem BASE contest are as follows:

  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • You must weigh less than 180 lbs.

That’s it! Now all you need is a little luck and $20 per ticket.

What IS tandem BASE jumping?

If you’ve been to Bridge Day before, you know that hundreds of folks fly and rappel off the New River Gorge Bridge. Both are done solo by experienced adventurers.


It’s also possible to go BASE jumping with a professional jumper (hence, tandem.) It’s a great way to fly for the first time. You harness up with a pro, walk onto the ledge of the 876-foot-tall New River Gorge Bridge and leap into the canyon.

There’s nothing like it. Not surprisingly, these spots sell out really quickly. Only a few are left for this year’s Bridge Day, in fact.

But if you’d rather save some money, get a raffle ticket instead. You never win unless you try, right? Who knows, maybe you’ll be in line at Bridge Day with the other tandem BASE jumpers.

Important dates

Raffle tickets are on sale until Sept. 29 at 5 p.m. Good luck! Bridge Day itself always falls on the third Saturday in October— in this case, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

That’s not very far away. So, what are you waiting for?

Win that tandem BASE ticket!

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Fly into the Gorge!

There’s more to Bridge Day than just base jumping.

This one-day festival is your chance to zip line or (with prior experience) rappel into the New River Gorge! Now’s the time to think about flying.


BASE jumping steals the limelight, no doubt about that. But rappelling is another Bridge Day sport. It’s awe-inspiring, too. With ropes and special equipment, repellers ascend or descend like spiders into the void.

All Bridge Day rappellers start from the catwalk, where starting positions are determined in advance by a lottery. So are teams. In fact, owing to the bridge’s extreme height, folks from around the globe enter for a slot— demand is that fierce.

If you know how to rappel, lottery registration is now available until June 16. Visit Bridge Day Rappel for rules and signup information.

High line

Highlining at WV's Bridge Day

Crave a piece of the action? While BASE jumping and rappelling require lots of experience, a high line does not.

Never heard of one? It’s basically a zip line that’s anchored to the New River Gorge Bridge catwalk. From there, you’ll drop 300 vertical feet into the gorge, straighten out and descend gracefully to the bottom. The total distance from start to finish is 700 feet.

As you can imagine, highlining is a giddy experience. Brisk autumn air, brilliant leaf colors and dizzying speed make quite a cocktail! If you’re game, getting signed up is easy.

Things to keep in mind:

  • No prior training is necessary. However, you must be 10 or older and not weigh more than 275 pounds.
  • Tandem rides are available. Share the journey with a friend! However, you might have to ride with someone if time gets limited or weather becomes a concern, too.
  • Spaces are limited. Get those tickets early!

In fact, registration is available now through Oct. 1, or until all slots are filled. You’ll get a safety lecture and high line orientation before the festival.

Bridge Walks

Can’t wait until October 21? Go on a Bridge Walk tour! These extraordinary “hikes” on the catwalk are available all year. Sign up, meet your guide and brace yourself for mind-boggling views. Don’t even think about leaving the house without a camera! If you’re lucky, you’ll spot peregrine falcons flying by at eye level.

Consider it a sneak preview of Bridge Day.

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