All 450 available BASE jumping slots are booked for the 33rd Annual Bridge Day Festival at the New River Gorge Bridge in Fayette County.
New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau Assistant Director Cindy Dragan says a lot of people are looking forward to Bridge Day on Saturday.
It’s the only day of the year that traffic is shut down on the New River Gorge Bridge. More than 80,000 spectators could attend.
“(It’s) The atmosphere of having 450 BASE jumpers jumping off the bridge and up to 200 vendors selling everything from funnel cakes to jewelry,” Dragan said of the day.
BASE jumpers use parachutes to jump from fixed objects. BASE is an acronym for the four categories of possible jumping points: building, antenna, span and earth.
This year, BASE Coordinator Jason Bell, an engineer, will be using a catapult system for some of the jumpers. About 24 BASE jumpers with a lot of experience will try it. Instead of jumping from the bridge, they’ll be thrown from it.
“They’ll be catapulted off,” Dragan says.
There will also be a wedding on the New River Gorge Bridge this year. Erika Terranova won the tandem BASE jump contest. Before she jumps with a professional skydiving instructor, though, she will marry her fiance Patrick, a skydiver, on the bridge Saturday morning.
Meteorologists with the National Weather Service say there is a slight chance of showers in Fayette County on Saturday. It’ll be mostly cloudy with a high near 55. The chance of precipitation is 20% with the possibilities of some light wind in the morning.
“That’s one thing we just can’t control,” Dragan says of the weather. “Whatever natures gives us, we’ll go with it.”
The New River Gorge Bridge will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. to about 5 p.m. on Saturday. The jumping is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. and wrap up by 3 p.m.
For more on Bridge Day, including parking options, go to www.officialbridgeday.com or www.newrivergorgecvb.com.