The popular festival was started to help hikers learn how to take advantage of seasonal weather conditions and avoid A.T. hiker crowds by starting at the Trail’s mid-point. The festival now attracts hundreds of visitors from nearby metropolitan areas with a full schedule of family-friendly activities and guided short hikes highlighting nature and history. The event is organized by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), REI Co-op, the Trail & Town Alliance of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar and Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.
To get the most from the weekend, visitors should head to Festival Central at the top of scenic and historic Camp Hill to check out the array of vendors offering unique wares and outdoor-themed displays while enjoying live music by local bands. Before further exploring the charming villages of Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, visitors can pick up their Festival Quest sheet at the ATC booth to guide them to intriguing shops, art galleries and great meals from a broad selection of restaurants. Throughout the weekend, attendees can join free activities ranging from in-depth workshops for hikers to the following special offerings:
- Morning Yoga (Sat.)
- Bird Walk (Sat.)
- The Machine in the Garden cultural history program (Sat.)
- Bicycle Touring workshops (Sat.)
- Forest Bathing workshop (Sun.)
- African American History Hike (Sun.)
- Constellations and Celestial Objects: Gazing at the Night Sky (Sun.)
In addition, REI Co-op returns to the Flip Flop Festival with gear clinics and repair tips from their expert staff on Saturday at The Harpers Ferry Event Barn. REI will also host a storytelling hour and Blue Ridge Bucha will offer samples of their organic kombucha, which has been handcrafted sustainably.
On Saturday evening, activities continue with a “Celebration of Flip Floppers” event, which includes a flip flop-themed photo booth. Live music will keep the festive atmosphere going throughout the weekend.
See below for a detailed schedule of the Festival’s workshops and events.
FLIP FLOP FESTIVAL WEEKEND OVERVIEW:
- DATE/TIME: April 27, 8 a.m.-7:30 p.m. and April 28, 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
- LOCATION: 799 Washington St, Harpers Ferry, WV 25425
FRIDAY, APRIL 26, 2019
- 3-6 p.m. — Backpack Shakedowns • What’s in your backpack? Expert hikers review your gear and help you safely skinny down the weight in your pack. One-on-one appointments.
SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2019
- 9 a.m.-4 p.m. — Backpack Shakedowns continue
- 10-10:50 a.m. — Hiking for Beginners
- 11-11:50 a.m. — Long-Distance Hiking on the AT
- 12-12:50 p.m. — Leave No Trace Low-Impact Backpacking
- 1-1:50 p.m. — Staying Found on the A.T.
- 2-2:50 p.m. — Health & Wellness on the Trail
- 3-3:50 p.m. — Trail Etiquette & Trail Magic
- 4-4:50 p.m. — Flip Flopper Panel Q&A
Workshops for Outdoor Enthusiasts
- 10-11 a.m. — The Birds of Virginius Island • Explore the nature-filled Virginius Island and see if you can spy a few of Harpers Ferry’s 170 bird species with Deb Hale, a local birding enthusiast and volunteer of the Potomac Valley Audubon Society.
- 11-11:50 a.m. — Introduction to Birding
- 12-12:50 p.m. — Local Hikes and History
- 1-1:50 p.m. — Bicycle Touring
- 2-2:50 p.m. — Thru-Cycling the C&O and Great Allegheny Passage Trails
- 2-3 p.m. — The Machine in the Garden • Join former National Park Service archeologist Dr. Paul Shackel for an exploration of Virginius Island and its industrial and social history. Registration required: 304.535.2908.
- 3-3:50 p.m. — Women on the Trail
Don’t Miss the Fun!
- 10 a.m.-4 p.m. — Games on Mather Lawn
SUNDAY, APRIL 28, 2019
- 7:30-9 a.m. — Hiker Pancake Breakfast at Camp Hill-Wesley Church
- 9-9:50 a.m. — Flip Flopper Send-Off at the ATC Headquarters
For the A.T. Thru-Hiker (Open To All)
- 10 a.m.-3 p.m. — Backpack Shakedowns continue
- 10-10:50 a.m. — Not Finishing is NOT Failing & Hiker Hacks
- 11-11:50 a.m. — Backpacking Food and Trail Nutrition
- 1-1:50 p.m. — Best Foot Forward: Care for Your Feet
Inspiration to Get Outdoors
- 2-2:50 p.m. — Appalachian Trail 14 State Challenge: Plan an exciting day visit to every Trail state
- 12-12:50 p.m. — Forest Bathing: How to Reconnect with Wild Places and Rejuvenate Your Life
- 1:30-3 p.m. — Melanie Choukas-Bradley book signing of The Joy of Forest Bathing: Reconnect with Wild Places and Rejuvenate Your Life (ATC Visitor Center)
Nature and History Walks and Talks
- 1-3 p.m. — Guided African American History Hike (Meet at ATC Visitor Center) • Former National Park Service Ranger David Fox leads a two-hour interpretive hike of Harpers Ferry sites significant to African American and Civil War History featuring spellbinding stories and stunning views.
- 8:30-9:30 p.m. — Constellations and Celestial Objects: Gazing at the Night Sky (Mather Lawn)
Don’t Miss While You’re in Harpers Ferry
- Saturday afternoon — Town of Harpers Ferry Craft Beer Garden at the Gazebo**
- Friday & Saturday Evenings — Harpers Ferry Ghost Tour***
**The Craft Beer & Food Tasting is not an official event of the Flip Flop Festival nor is it officially sponsored by the Flip Flop Festival or any of its sponsors and partners. This event is operated and managed solely by the Harpers Ferry Parks & Recreation Commission, and the Flip Flop Festival and its sponsors and partners may in no way be held responsible or liable, legally or otherwise, with respect to this event.
***The Ghost Tour of Harpers Ferry is not an official event of the Flip Flop Festival nor is it officially sponsored by the Flip Flop Festival or any of its sponsors and partners. This event is operated and managed solely by “O’ Be Joyfull” Historical Tours, and the Flip Flop Festival and its sponsors and partners may in no way be held responsible or liable, legally or otherwise, with respect to this event.
For more information about the festival, transportation, parking or camping for the event, visit the ATC Headquarters & Visitor Center in Harpers Ferry or online at www.flipflopfestival.org.
About the Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The ATC was founded in 1925 by volunteers and federal officials working to build a continuous footpath along the Appalachian Mountains. A unit of the National Park System, the A.T. ranges from Maine to Georgia and is approximately 2,192 miles in length. It is the longest hiking-only footpath in the world. The mission of the ATC is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail – ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.appalachiantrail.org.