Sholten Singer/The Herald-Dispatch Thrill-seekers leap from the New River Gorge Bridge during West Virginia's annual Bridge Day festival on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017, near Fayetteville, W.Va. The bridge, which opened in 1977, is the third-highest bridge in the nation.

FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. (AP) — Thrillseekers from around the world are heading to southern West Virginia for an annual bridge-jumping event.

Saturday's Bridge Day festival in Fayetteville is being held for the 40th year. It is the one day a year it's legal to jump off the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge.

Hundreds of BASE jumpers make the leap by parachute off the bridge. BASE stands for the places from which jumpers usually leap: buildings, antennae, spans and earth.

At least 70,000 people are expected to walk across the bridge. Rappellers also will make their way from a cat walk under the bridge to the river below. Also available to anyone for $161 will be a 700-foot-long high line slide that drops 300 vertical feet.

The 3,030-foot-long bridge opened to traffic in October 1977.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.