Brush Up on Your Bridge Day Trivia

Bridge Day — one of the world’s most unique events and largest, single-day festival in West Virginia — is going virtual this year! Join the community of Bridge Day fans, BASE jumpers, rappellers, vendors and volunteers on October 17 as we celebrate the 41st Bridge Day on Facebook with videos, virtual raffles, trivia and more. In honor of Virtual Bridge Day 2020, here are some of our favorite Bridge Day facts! 

  • The first Bridge Day was held on November 8, 1980. Two parachutists jumped from a plane onto the bridge, while five other parachutists jumped from the bridge into the Gorge.
  • Bridge Day has only ever been canceled once. In 2001, the festival was canceled after the September 11 attacks due to safety concerns. Instead, Spirit of Bridge Day was held which included the High Line. Though once, BASE jumpers were not allowed to jump at Bridge Day because the water levels on the New River were unsafe for them to land.    
  • The iconic New River Gorge Bridge is the longest single-arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere. The impressive statistics don’t stop there! It also is 3,030 feet long, 876 feet high, 70 feet wide and is made from 88 million pounds of U.S. Cor-Ten steel and American cement. The Cor-Ten weathering steel was used to blend into the scenic surroundings and saved approximately $1 million on paint. 
  • On average, 80,000 people attend Bridge Day each year! Some years, attendance has been closer to 100,000 people. 
  • 2012 was the first year BASE jumpers were offered a new twist! Instead of the typical jump from the bridge, some BASE jumpers sprung from a giant catapult.
  • The oldest person to rappel at Bridge Day was 81, and the youngest rappeler was 8.
  • The hours spent on design calculations and drawings for the New River Gorge Bridge would be equivalent to one person working 40 hours per week for 15 years! 
  • On the Bridge Day High Line, participants drop 300 vertical feet, while sliding 600 to 700 feet into the Gorge! The High Line is a zipline starting on the catwalk under the bridge and goes down to Fayette Station Road. This activity has been offered since 2002.
  • Bridge Day has been a time where several couples have celebrated their engagement and nuptials over the years, and the first wedding took place in 1990.
  • It takes approximately 8 seconds from the bridge to the water of the New River. Most BASE jumpers free-fall from the bridge for 3–4 seconds before deploying their parachute. They spend the next 20 to 30 seconds floating down to the landing zone, or “LZ”. 

Visit the Bridge Day website for more fun facts about this cherished festival. Keep up-to-date on Virtual Bridge Day and share your favorite memories from past Bridge Days on Facebook