Flip Flop Festival Celebrates Exploring the Great Outdoors

Date Published: Mar 13, 2019

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (March 13, 2019) – Dozens of ambitious hikers will launch their thru-hikes of the nearly 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail (A.T.) at the fifth annual Flip Flop Festival on April 27-28 in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Hundreds of visitors attend the festival each year to see off these aspiring thru-hikers and take part in the recreation opportunities provided by the surrounding landscapes.

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 Walks (Sat. and Sun.)
  • 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.


  • 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

Pre-Festival Workshops


  • 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.


Hiking Workshops

  • 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

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.

Media Contact: Jordan Bowman
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Tel: 304.885.0794
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ATHike
Web: www.appalachiantrail.org