Annual Bridge Day Festival Canceled Due To Coronavirus Concerns
The Fayette County Bridge Day Commission announced Wednesday that it’s canceling the 2020 Bridge Day Festival, citing concerns about large gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a news release, the commission said due to the ongoing pandemic, they felt they could not put on a “large-scale, safe, high-quality event.”
According to the commission, about 100,000 people attend the one day festival each year. Bridge Day is the only day of the year it is legal to base jump off of the 876-foot New River Gorge Bridge. The event attracts adventure enthusiasts from all over the world.
In the release, the commission noted the seriousness of the cancellation for businesses like restaurants, hotels, and others that rely on tourism related to the event.
But in a phone call, Bridge Day Commission Chairwoman Becky Sullivan told West Virginia Public Broadcasting she hopes the economic impact will be minimal because people have already booked accommodations for family reunions and leaf-changing season.
“Ultimately, we have tried to make the best decision for the community, and we are so thankful for the support that has already been shown,” wrote officials in the news release. “We will continue to work hard to bring you this unique event that we all love in the future. We intend to keep morale high and, together with community leaders, focus on collective efforts to rebuild a fantastic event in 2021.
Bridge Day was originally scheduled for Oct. 17. This would have been the 41st year. The only other year the festival was canceled was following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.