Out of state visitors share draw behind W.Va Bridge Day

Published: Oct. 21, 2023 at 3:06 PM EDT
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FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (WVVA) - West Virginia’s Bridge Day can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

For some, it’s the chance to see their home state in a new light. For others, it may be to chase a rush or mark another item off the bucket list.

For Robbin Cole, it was to try something new in a moment of spontaneity. When she found out about Bridge Day, she packed up in 20 minutes and drove straight from Illinois to attend Saturday’s festival.

“I left yesterday about five o’clock, drove eight-and-a-half hours...but I wanted to get here early so I could be first in- pretty much first in line so I could actually get and watch it and see it because I’ve never seen it before,” she shared. “[I’ve] never even heard of it until yesterday when I was at home- just got done working in the yard and seen it, and I’m always up for an adventure.”

The event’s premiere base jumping also draws in a crowd from across the globe. Jerrod Long came all the way from Arizona to make an unforgettable jump from the New River Gorge Bridge, something he did for the first time in 1997.

He says it’s a feeling you never stop chasing.

“When you’re there in the moment, you’re in the now. I mean, time slows down, you know, seconds becomes ages...and everything seems to happen really slow, even though it’s only a few seconds. It’s the moment, man, the adrenaline, the focus, the clarity...”

Then, there are folks like Diego Adame who heard about the thrills of Bridge Day and are taking that 876-foot leap of faith for the first time.

“It’s just pure bliss,” said the North Carolina resident. “Yeah, just falling, seeing the steel go by you, ground getting bigger. It’s a rush. It’s awesome.”

Cole, Long and Adame are three of thousands who made the trek to Fayette County over the weekend. Bridge Day organizers expect to see final attendance counts pass 140,000.