FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – They called it ‘The Bridge Day That Wasn’t’ as most expected a slow weekend in Fayetteville without the state’s largest single-day event.
However, some local businesses set records for their busiest day as visitors still flocked to town for hiking, shopping and eating.
Tabitha Stover, the director of the Fayetteville CVB, says her parking lot at the center was packed out.
“I was surprised that there were a lot of new people, and I think they had heard about Bridge Day, and I think the New River Gorge CVB put a really awesome virtual celebration together, so seeing all that put out, I think it hyped people up, and they came, and they wanted to just check it out and then come back in the future,” Stover said.
This would have been Fred Dolin’s first Bridge Day as the new owner of The Pink Pig in Fayetteville. When the news first came out about the cancellation, he predicted the town would be quiet.
It ended up being one of his busiest days as he scheduled an outdoor Bridge Day Music Fest featuring local artists.
He said the people came from all over, and he was busy all day. He says most of what he heard from the guests was that they had already planned and scheduled to come in for Bridge Day and came anyway to explore when it was cancelled.
“We started at 9:30 and we started getting people that early in the morning, so we had a lot of fun. At one point, we actually had to turn people away,” Dolin said.
Stover says what some thought would be a devastating end-of-season blow to businesses turned out to have recording-breaking numbers for some.
“I know Epic Escape said it was one of the busiest Bridge Days they’ve had. Water Stone was super busy,” Stover said. “I mean, that was a really pleasant surprise, and we’re really thankful, you know, to still see businesses be able to make up for what could have been a devastating day.”