FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Bridge Day is only days away, which means people are getting hyped up for jumping, watching the jumpers, or exploring the area.

But why is it getting so much attention this year?

This event is a Mountain State tradition. It is West Virginia’s largest single-day festival, where every third Saturday in October, thousands of people, specifically fans of the event gather on the New River Gorge Bridge to watch daredevils BASE jump into the 876 foot drop into the Gorge below. This brings the park a lot of attention, putting the New River Gorge on the map, and making Bridge Day a one-of-a-kind unique event and tradition of it’s own.

“It’s really a tradition, just because, you know, this is the time of year when everybody gets together; people plan family reunions around Bridge Day, class reunions are planned around Bridge Day. It’s getting more attention this year as a national park because, you know, a lot of people are hearing about the New River Gorge area for the first time through all the good press, newspaper articles that were getting, and the magazine articles and things like that, so there are a lot of people who are coming this year who have never heard of Bridge Day before.”

Tim Naylor | Executive Assistant, Fayette County Chamber of Commerce

One reason for all the excitement is because it is the first Bridge Day festival since the New River Gorge was recognized as a National Park and Preserve. Bridge Day has also gotten more attention due to the two-year hiatus from the COVID-19 pandemic. Dave Bieri, District Supervisor with the National Park Service shared why he thinks this year is more hyped up than usual and why Bridge Day is a big deal to the Mountain State.

“I think that this year has the potential for being one of our biggest Bridge Days ever for a number of reasons. We haven’t had one [Bridge Day] in the last two years, so people are probably missing it, and the weather is looking really great so far, but also because we are now, we have been redesignated as a National Park. We’re definitely a little bit more in the spotlight and on people’s radar now. We’re seeing a lot more visitors to the park, and you know, people have been asking about Bridge Day, so I think we’ll definitely have the potential for seeing quite a few more people here this year.”

Dave Bieri | NPS District Supervisor | New River Gorge National Park & Preserve

Whatever the reasoning may be, West Virginians are excited for the long-overdue tradition of Bridge Day to finally be back bigger than ever.