West Virginia's largest annual festival. It is usually held in October; in 2000 it will take place on October 21st.

Bridge Day is a celebration of the New River Gorge bridge, the world's longest arch bridge. The bridge is over 800 feet high, which makes it suitable for rappelling, and more notably, BASE jumping--in fact, BASE jumping off the bridge is expressly legal for about 6 hours on Bridge Day, making it a huge attraction for the BASE crowd. Many BASE jumpers have their first jump on this day, as the river below is populated with rescue boats and the shore with ambulances, just in case.

I highly recommend going to this festival--the bridge and the park are beautiful, and the jumpers provide quite a show, with near death experiences as they wait a few seconds too long to let their parachutes open (there are only 9 seconds between the bridge and the ground; last year I witnessed delays from 5 to 8 seconds). In the 20 years of the festival, however, there has been only one fatality.

Even better, I recommend actually jumping off the bridge yourself, but that's another matter entirely.

More information about bridge day can be obtained at http://www.nps.gov/neri/bridgeday.htm.

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