Fall Festival Season Kicks off with Gorge's Biggest EventsAugust 18, 2014
If summer is the high season for adventure in the New River Gorge, then fall is the peak for festival fun.
August, September and October usher in some of the biggest festivals in the area (some the biggest in the state, and of their type in the world.)
Oak Leaf Festival, Aug. 23-31
We begin as August winds down with the Oak Leaf Festival. Over 2 weekends, including the Labor Day holiday weekend, Aug. 23-31, enjoy one of downtown Oak Hill’s biggest bashes.
A giant parade will take over the streets, drawing more than 3,000 people and more than 90 vendors. Games, contests, cruise-ins, entertainers, cook-offs… the small town be stuffed end-to-end and back-to-back with fun events. Crowd favorites include the talent show and beauty pageants.
Mary Hanning of Oak Hill said she has attended the festival since it began.
“The festival draws in a lot of people and shows Oak Hill in a positive light,” she said. “It is a time for people to come together and almost everything is free and very nice. We have our annual high school reunion and people come in from all over for that. They run into people they used to know on the streets at the festival and that really enhances the experience.”
Admission is free to almost all the events, except the pageants, which cost $5.
Country Roads Festival, Sept. 20 & 21
Time to celebrate some mountain heritage!
The 38-year-old Country Roads Festival at Hawk’s Nest State Park in Anstead features crafters, apple butter making, food vendors, bluegrass and country music on Saturday, and gospel music on Sunday. As the oldest-running event around, this event draws an even bigger crowd, usually 5,000 to 8,000 people.
If you want to take a break from the festival, there’s plenty to see around the park. Hike the trails to scenic overlooks, or get the bird’s eye view from the aerial tramway. You can also hop aboard the New River Jetboat and cruise down to see the iconic New River Gorge Bridge.
Bridge Day, Oct. 18
Speaking of the New River Gorge Bridge, the state’s biggest, most unique festival is held atop the 867-foot-high steel, traffic-bearing bridge.
During the Bridge Day festival, people leap from the bridge into the canyon below. With parachutes, of course! Hundreds of BASE jumpers worldwide converge in the mountains of WV for a chance to leap from the bridge.
It’s one of only a few legal places to take the leap, and by far the most well-known BASE jumping event. In fact, it’s the largest extreme sports festival of its kind in the world.
But that’s not the end of the action. Rappelers lower themselves from the bridge, skydivers leap out from above it, and even the inexperienced adventurers (yes, even you!) can take a highline from the bridge catwalk into the forest below.
Join the more than 100,000 people who come to watch this event, and enjoy the food and vendors along the bridge on the only day it’s legal to walk across it.
Which fall festival in the New River Gorge do you love most?