Fairs, festivals and other special events promise fall fun
South Charleston, W.Va. – West Virginia offers a wide variety of fall events for many interests all across the state. Whether you want to enjoy the state’s fall foliage atop (or jumping off!) the country’s largest steel arch bridge, attending the richest night of horse racing in the state, visiting one or more of the many fall fairs and festivals, or hitting the challenging rapids of the world’s best whitewater, now is the time to start making your plans for an autumn adventure in the Mountain State.
Bridge Day jumps into 31st anniversary celebration Oct. 16
Celebrating its 31st anniversary, Bridge Day offers plenty of thrills on the New River Gorge Bridge on Oct. 16. The event is regarded as West Virginia's largest one-day event and the largest extreme sports event in the world. Activities include BASE jumping, rappelling and zipping 700 feet down the high line – a rope attached to the bridge’s catwalk – to the Fayette Station Road below. Around 400 BASE jumpers participate each year. Estimates have as many as 100,000 people attending the overall event. There is no charge for spectators to attend the festival.
The New River Gorge Bridge is the second longest single arch bridge in the world and is the second-highest bridge in the United States. It sits 876 feet above the New River, the second-oldest river in the world.
Bridge Day is celebrated each year in Fayetteville, W.Va., and sponsored by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, commemorating the 1977 completion of the New River Gorge Bridge. On this day, all four lanes of the bridge are closed to automobiles and opened to pedestrians. Bridge Day is the only day of the year people are allowed to BASE jump off the bridge into the New River Gorge 876 feet (267 meters) below. It is one of the few exceptions to a general ban on BASE jumping within the National Park System of the United States.
The "Taste of Bridge Day" event kicks off the weekend on Friday, Oct. 15, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Smokey's On the Gorge restaurant. Area restaurants will present their tastiest dishes for the public to sample, with awards for best foods, desserts and displays. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
For more specific Bridge Day information, please contact the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce or the New River Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-927-0263, or visit the official Bridge Day Web site at www.officialbridgeday.com.
West Virginia Breeders Classics XXIV – West Virginia’s richest night of racing Oct. 16
The richest night of racing in the state is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 16 at Charles Town Races & Slots in Charles Town, W.Va. The West Virginia Breeders Classic is the annual showcase for the West Virginia Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. The Classic is a day of nine races featuring horses bred or sired in West Virginia with purses totaling $1.3 million.
The horses run at a distance of one and one/eighths mile on the dirt. The races are open to 3-year olds and up, with the big featured Classic race sending the winner home with a $500,000 purse. The West Virginia Breeders Classic was created in 1987 by retired Washington Redskins, New York Giants and West Virginia University football great Sam Huff.
For information, call 304-725-0709, e-mail email@example.com or visit online www.wvbc.com.
2010 Fall Festivals
Many communities and counties celebrate the fall harvests with popular festivals. A list of festivals and celebrations can be seen online at www.wvtourism.com/EventCalendar. Here are a few examples of events that help make West Virginia special at this time of year.
Golden Delicious Festival: Sept. 16-19, Clay
What better way to celebrate West Virginia’s state fruit than with a festival? Clay is the birthplace of the famous Golden Delicious Apple, and the Golden Delicious Festival is complete with a parade, music, amusement rides, a 5K run/walk and plenty of golden delicious apples. To learn more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.claygoldendeliciousfestival.com.
69th Annual Preston County Buckwheat Festival: Sept. 30 – Oct. 3, Kingwood
Join the Kingwood community for its 69th annual buckwheat festival. Special parades salute firemen, schools, and farmers. Agricultural and livestock exhibits and awards share the fairgrounds with arts and crafts, carnival rides, musical entertainment and Irish road bowling. Saturday’s Farmer’s Day Parade will feature the WVU marching band. Best of all, buckwheat cakes and sausage meals are dished up every day. For more information, contact the Preston County Buckwheat Festival at (304) 379-2203 or email@example.com or visit www.buckwheatfest.com.
West Virginia’s Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival: Sept. 24-26, Between Charles Town and Shepherdstown
Nearly 200 artisans selected for the high quality of their products will sell and demonstrate their wares in this nationally acclaimed festival. West Virginia wineries are participating with wine tasting and sales for off-premises consumption. Children’s activities will be available. Enjoy a variety of food and the best in bluegrass music. Admission includes parking and entertainment and is $7 for adults and $4 for children 6-17. For more information, 304-725-2055 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.jeffersoncountywvchamber.org/festival.
Mountain State Forest Festival: Oct. 2-10, Elkins
This is the 74th year for this festival which promotes the beauty and utility of West Virginia’s forest land with approximately 100 events. Just a few highlights are the classic rock show, country music show, gospel sing, talent show, fireman’s parade, grand feature parade, Irish road bowling, children’s parade, Coronation of Queen Silvia, lumberjack contest, pet show, and entertainment at the city park and downtown stage. For more information, 304-636-1824 or email@example.com, or visit www.forestfestival.com.
West Virginia Pumpkin Festival: Oct. 7-10, Milton
Join this family-fun festival that includes arts and crafts, commercial and business displays, live entertainment, pumpkin contest to determine the largest pumpkin grown in West Virginia, and food vendors. Thursday and Friday are designated days for kids with entertainment and educational programs. For more information, call 304-743-9222 or 304-743-3032, or visit www.wvpumpkinpark.com.
56th Annual West Virginia Black Walnut Festival: Oct. 14-17, Spencer
Join the celebration of the black walnut during one of West Virginia’s oldest and most respected fall festivals. Events include food contests, a parade, craft displays and demonstrations, and special this year, a display of the Vietnam Memorial Traveling Wall. For details, call 304-927-5616, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit online www.wvblackwalnutfestival.org
Gauley Season – America’s Best Whitewater ™ – Sept. 10-Oct. 17, Summersville
Make your reservations for the most fun you can have getting wet, whitewater rafting during the annual fall Gauley Season on the Gauley River. Water released from the Summersville Dam every fall provides the most intense whitewater rafting east of the Mississippi; that’s why the Gauley is called the “Beast of the East.” Ranked one of the best whitewater runs in the world, the Gauley is a combination of heart-stopping excitement and breathtaking scenery. It boasts more Class IV and V rapids than any other eastern river and offers one of the most intense experiences in commercial rafting.
The New River, possibly the second-oldest river in the world, drops 240 feet over one 14-mile stretch as it cuts its way through a 1,000-foot-deep sandstone gorge. Its Class I to V rapids make it one of the most popular runs in the country. The mild, yet rippled, Upper New is perfect for float and fishing trips, while the Middle New beefs up the excitement with Class II and III rapids. The famed Lower New runs through the heart of the gorge and underneath the longest steel arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
North of these two rough and tumble rivers, lies the boulder-strewn canyon of the Cheat. Snowmelt and spring rain give the Cheat more than 30 technical rapids in the Class III to IV range. The Tygart ranks among the mightiest rivers in the nation and, due to its remoteness, is relatively uncrowded. This 10-mile-long river boasts rapids ranging from Class I to V and is home to Wells Falls, considered the most powerful, runable drop in the Monongahela River basin.
Call 1-800-CALL-WVA or visit www.wvtourism.com/whitewater for more information.
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