Flip Flop Festival

April 23-24, 2022 (Sat & Sun)

A free celebration of the outdoors, encouraging flip-flop thru-hikes of the Appalachian Trail.

Harpers Ferry and Bolivar, West Virginia

About the Flip Flop Festival

Join us to celebrate the beginning of spring in Harpers Ferry—and see off a group of Appalachian Trail thru-hikers who are following the flip flop route, starting in Harpers Ferry.

Flip Flop Festival 2019

Photo credit: Appalachian Trail Conservancy

This free community event is sponsored by the Trail & Town Alliance of Harpers Ferry & Bolivar, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the towns of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry.

With hiking workshops, music, speakers, food and a send-off breakfast for flip floppers, the Flip Flop Festival is a great excuse to visit Harpers Ferry, a scenic and historic town in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

What's a Flip-Flop Hike?

The traditional Appalachian Trail thru-hike starts in Georgia and ends in Maine.

But an increasing number of long-distance hikers are brave enough to hike the 2,200-mile AT by starting in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, which is known as the psychological halfway point. After hiking the northern half, they circle back to hike the southern half.

This alternate route helps conserve the trail and allows hikers to avoid crowds of thru-hikers who start in Georgia.

At the Flip Flop Festival, we encourage this alternate route by teaching long-distance hikers how to prepare for a thru-hike, and celebrating flip-flop thru-hikers who set off from Harpers Ferry that weekend.

Contact Us

Want to ask questions about the festival? Or volunteer to help?

Contact us via email: trailandtown[at]historicharpersferry[dot]org

Or on Instagram: @harpersferrytrails

Or via our Facebook event page: 2022 Festival on Facebook

Schedule

Flip Flop Festival 2019

Photo credit: Appalachian Trail Conservancy

RSVP for the Festival on Facebook

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2022

Appalachian Trail Workshops
Location: Harpers Ferry Center Outdoor Plaza, 67 Mather Place10am - 4pmSee full workshop schedule here
Flip Flop Evening
Location: The Barn of Harpers Ferry, 1062 W. Washington St.4pm: Doors and cash bar open5:45 pm: Welcome message6pm: Speaker Therese “Bangles” Coad of Seattle on her Lifechanging Flip Flop Hike on the Appalachian Trail8pm: Roots / Folk Duo Rockwood Taylor, nominee for New England Music Awards Album of the Year

SUNDAY, APRIL 24, 2022

Flip Flop Thru-Hikers Send-Off Breakfast
Location: Social Hall at Camp Hill-Wesley United Methodist Church, 601 Washington St.Time: 7-9amOur signature send-off for flip-flop thru-hikers is a pancake breakfast. Community members are welcome to join, too. It's free for flip floppers, and a pay-what-you-can donation is asked of community attendees.
Family Hike
Location: Parking lot of Harpers Ferry Family Medicine at 171 Taylor StreetTime: 10amIn partnership with the local Chicken Power Team group. Distance: 2.2 milesGet to know our local trails in Harpers Ferry and Bolivar. Great for all kids and adults. The Chicken Power Team will mark the route and guide us; simply show up ready for some fun!

Workshops

Flip Flop Festival 2019

Photo credit: Appalachian Trail Conservancy

SATURDAY, APRIL 23, 2022

Location for all workshops: Harpers Ferry Center Outdoor Plaza, 67 Mather Place.

Park behind the old Shipley school at 841 Washington St.

Each workshop includes a giveaway!

10am - 4pm: Pack Shakedowns with Jim Fetig, Director of the PATC Ridge Runner program, and two PATC Ridge Runners

10am - 10:50am: Long Distance Hiking on the A.T. with Jim Fetig

Jim Fetig, experienced long-distance hiker and leader of the festival pack shakedown crew, presents practical perspectives on what new hikers can expect and prepare for, and what long-distance hiking on the A.T. is all about.

11am - 11:50am: Health & Wellness on the Trail with Heather Sloan

Heather Sloan enjoys any opportunity to bring together her two passions: public health and hiking/backpacking. By day Heather works in public health but after hours, she loves spending time in the outdoors. Her workshop will cover everything from basic ailments like norovirus, tickborne illness, giardia, and nutrition/mineral deficiencies, how to prevent these ailments, signs and symptoms, as well as treatments. She will also talk about COVID-19.

12pm - 12:50pm: Leave No Trace, Food Storage and Incident Reporting with Jim Fetig

Jim Fetig, long-distance hiker and PATC trail maintainer, outlines the seven Leave No Trace principles and why it's important to use them to recreate responsibly, as well as proper food storage, and incident reporting on the Appalachian Trail.

1pm - 1:50pm: Hiking Responsibly with Your Dog with Maria Wishart

Section hikers Maria Wishart and her dog, Boots, present this workshop on how to prepare your dog for hiking, proper etiquette/manners when hiking with your dog, Leave No Trace principles and extra care considerations for your canine companion when heading out into the wilderness.

2pm - 2:50pm: Foot Care with Regina Clark

Please bring a yoga mat or sit-upon if possible.

Long-distance hiker, runner, and nurse Regina Clark has a wealth of knowledge about keeping your feet happy on the trail! Maintaining healthy feet are crucial to long-distance hiking and Regina has many foot care tips and tricks to share. She'll also help troubleshoot foot problems you may encounter throughout your hike.

3pm - 3:50pm: Trail Etiquette with Jordan Bowman This workshop is cancelled.

ATC’s Director of Communications and long-distance hiker Jordan Bowman knows a thing or two about the delicate nuances of living in the hiking community. In addition to talking about trail etiquette from the perspective of a hiker, he’ll talk about ways the trail community can offer responsible Trail Magic, which is often misunderstood.

Featured Speaker

Therese "Bangles" Coad, flip flop thru-hiker

Therese “Bangles” Coad

Hear her speak at 6pm on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at the Barn

A retirement consultant once noted that the key to a successful
retirement is to plan the first big activity. After that, he advised,
remain open to all possibilities and keep long-term planning to a
minimum.

Taking this advice to heart, Therese planned her first big activity: hike the Appalachian Trail. So, two weeks after her last day of work, she began her flip-flop thru-hike.

Therese retired on March 31, 2017, flew to Washington, D.C., and took her first step from the Front Royal trailhead two weeks later on April 15. A week or so later, at Bear’s Den Hostel, she officially became “Bangles”, a trail name with a wonderful story and one she cherishes to this day.

When Bangles is not sharing stories about the AT and other hiking adventures, she lives in Seattle, close to the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west. She is looking forward to sharing her story with the class of 2022 Flip Floppers.

Where to Stay and Park

Harpers Ferry is a quaint and historic West Virginia town, located in the Blue Ridge Mountains at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers.

This area offers a wealth of fantastic hiking, cycling, rafting, and climbing opportunities, with restaurants, shops, art galleries, indoor and outdoor exhibits, all set close to world-famous historic sites related to the Civil War, African American History, and the explorer Meriwether Lewis.

Parking is available on the streets throughout Harpers Ferry and Bolivar (some spots are metered); at the Harpers Ferry Train Station; and at the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park's Visitor Center at 171 Shoreline Drive, from where you can catch a shuttle to town. Both the train station and visitor center require a fee to park, which supports the park.

While you're here, we hope you'll stay at one of our many local inns and B&Bs, walk on one of our scenic trails, and enjoy a meal at one of our restaurants. Experience Harpers Ferry offers ideas for where to stay and eat. And Harpers Ferry Trails offers an overview of nearby hikes and restaurants.