Some people leaned over the side of the bridge to get a better look at the colorful parachutes as they got smaller and smaller the closer they reached the ground. Others snacked on homemade pies, large turkey legs and aromatic kettle popcorn as they walked by around 100 vendors of all sorts.
Daredevils did back flips and handstands off the platform in the middle of the bridge. To the right of that stand, a few jumpers lunged from a bouncy diving board into the sky.
For the first time ever, to the left of the platform, others were tossed from a pneumatically operated steel catapult as the crowd cheered in awe. The catapult flung BASE jumpers 50 feet laterally and 20 feet vertically off the deck of the bridge. Jason Bell, who heads Vertical Visions, a Bridgeport-based firm that coordinates Bridge Day jumping activities, designed the catapult.
A father and son jumped after first-timers and frightened thrill-seekers. By 11:15 a.m., every jumper had taken a fly in the sky at least once, and adventurers went back for more.
Once was enough for Erika Steiner, who not only got married on top the bridge Saturday but also won the Bridge Day 2012 Tandem BASE Jump Contest. Steiner, 27, from Lockport, N.Y., got to jump for free and had $1,000 donated to Mental Health America, the charity of her choice.
Although it Steiner's idea to have a Bridge Day wedding, her 24-year-old groom, Patrick, said he was on board from the beginning. The two wore matching bride and groom hoodies for their wedding jump.
"Originally, we played with the idea of having a sky-diving wedding," Patrick Steiner said, "but ... we moved it up to have it as soon as we could, so Bridge Day was be the next best idea."
Subaru, one of the event's sponsors, bought the Steiners a cake with mini parachutes on it and provided a banner for all the jumpers to sign for the newlyweds.
Although a Bridge Day wedding isn't the traditional kind of wedding, Patrick Steiner said it was perfect for the easy-going pair.
"The last few months, we've been to quite a few weddings and the common theme in planning their wedding is that it was extremely stressful," Patrick Steiner said. "Although this wedding is stressful at times, it's been easier. We wanted something carefree and enjoyable to start our lives together, and this has given it to us."
No major injuries were reported Saturday, but three people were transported to area hospitals with minor injuries.
To learn more about Bridge Day visit http://www.officialbridgeday.com.
Reach Megan Workman at megan.work...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.