The Bridge’s 40th Birthday Party — Saturday, October 19th
From the rush of leaping off the 876-foot New River Gorge Bridge to the smell of funnel cake wafting across the vast span, the people of Fayetteville—joined by BASE jumpers from across the world—have been celebrating the “birthday” of the New River Gorge Bridge for the past 40 years.
This year, the ruckus birthday party falls on Saturday, October 19. From 9am to 3pm you will find the New River Gorge Bridge closed to vehicle traffic as a massive crowd gathers to celebrate, explore booths from vendors, eat fair-style food, and most important of all, watch the famous BASE jumpers make the plunge from the bridge.
And, while the event has fluctuated in numbers of jumpers and spectators, the heart of the grassroots festival hasn’t changed much in all these years, said Mark Kissner, one of the event BASE jumping co-organizers who has been making the leap every fall since 1998.
“The only thing the jumpers care about is getting to jump and the spectators come to watch the jumpers,” Kissner said. “That’s the biggest draw unless you like a lot of deep-fried foods—which a lot of people do—but the jumping is definitely the big show.”
Since its infancy, Bridge Day has been the largest BASE jumping event in the world.
“The history of BASE jumping started only a few years before Bridge Day started and there were BASE jumpers at the very first Bridge Day,” Kissner said. “From there, literally within a couple years, there were hundreds of jumpers.”