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  1. #1

    Default Flip Flop Festival

    Why am I having trouble finding details about the festival? Why does the ATC seen unresponsive to questions (website and email) about this and doesn't seem to be providing any logistical advice? I want to know each day's activity schedule, suggested accommodations (yes AT Guide helps) and information as to shuttles or any special arrangements that the ATC has made for attendees, if any. I think making it as easy as possible for hikers to attend is fundamental for increasing flip flop interest and attendance.

  2. #2

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    Hi Singto, ATC has just updated information on the Flip Flop Festival regarding the schedule and lodging at www.appalachiantrail.org/flipflop.

  3. #3

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    Quick question Laurie: How crazy is this event? By pure coincidence, my wife and I should be hiking through there northbound right about then. I'm sure this is a cool event, and I think what you're doing to promote flip/flops (or other alternatives) is fantastic, but in general, we don't like big crowds. But not-too-big crowds are fine with us.

    Right now we're starting at Daleville VA, heading north, and our normal MPD rate would get us there right about on April 28. We could shift our start point either north or south to avoid this festival, or stay put and embrace this festival, depending on your answer, if you decide to respond to my silly question.

    thanks in advance.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Quick question Laurie: How crazy is this event? By pure coincidence, my wife and I should be hiking through there northbound right about then. I'm sure this is a cool event, and I think what you're doing to promote flip/flops (or other alternatives) is fantastic, but in general, we don't like big crowds. But not-too-big crowds are fine with us.

    Right now we're starting at Daleville VA, heading north, and our normal MPD rate would get us there right about on April 28. We could shift our start point either north or south to avoid this festival, or stay put and embrace this festival, depending on your answer, if you decide to respond to my silly question.

    thanks in advance.
    I arrived in Harpers Ferry on Memorial Day, Downtown was all abuzz and there were battle reenactments. Where I stayed (Tea Horse Hostel - recommended) Is on the other side of town and quite as a church mouse. The part of the trail that was super crowded was perhaps 1/2 a mile or perhaps 1 Don't recall how it gets through the downtown section, it sort of skirts it. There are accommodations right over the state line for a overnight if needed or desired too, way outside any crowds.

    So I wouldn't worry about a flip flop fest, it will be smaller then memorial day which just crowded the small downtown section, this is sure to be less, plus you can easily hike thru it and get quite accommodations if desired.

  5. #5

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    Colorado Rob,

    Although we do encourage Flip-Floppers attending the festival to spread out their start dates and times over the weekend and the next day or two, traffic is comparatively still quite light compared to Nobo thru-hiker season from late May through mid-July, which also coincides with peak section-hiker, Boy Scout, and weekend traffic. In June there are 30 nobos a day coming through Harpers Ferry, in addition to all those other hikers.

    The last 2 years, we've had about 40 flip floppers leaving Harpers Ferry over a 4-day period. The largest group hiking together that we know of has been 10. We hope these numbers grow, and we will encourage hikers to spread themselves out and follow best Leave No Trace practices.

    In summary, the Flip-Floppers at the festival do create a bump in traffic during an otherwise quiet period, but it's nothing like the traffic a month or two later.

  6. #6

    Default Lodging Close-by Does Fill Up

    Another point: lodging (our 2 hostels, 1 motel, and several B&Bs) right in Harpers Ferry/Bolivar does usually fill up during the festival. There are plenty of motels and hotels in Charles Town, WV, 5-7 miles west, and a few other locations to consider.

    If you do make a reservation, be sure to mention you are coming for the Flip Flop Festival.

    I'll post more links or details late in the day.

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    When I attended in 2016 and headed north with the "crowd" on Sunday morning, I think there were maybe 15 of us. Half the crowd stopped at the first shelter (Ed Garvey) and the rest of us pushed on to the next one (Campton gap). Most of those who made it to Campton gap on day one stopped at the Dahlgren campground when they found out they could get pizza delivery even though it was only noon and had to wait till 5 to get deliveries.

    Three others and myself pushed on and stayed ahead of everyone for the rest of PA. So, mostly it was just the four of us in shelters the rest of the way.
    So, if even if you do head out with a group of flip floppers, you will likely out pace most or all of them in a day or two and have the trail and shelters to yourself the rest of the way. BTW, PA was the only state where we meet a fair number of homeless people on the trail and other odd characters.
    Last edited by Slo-go'en; 01-24-2018 at 12:01.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8

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    Thanks so much for the info everyone, I think we'll try to time it to hike into town on that Sunday. Why not. I wonder if lodging on that Sunday night would be full? I would imagine not. As with most long distance hikers, we don't like to book lodging ahead as of course hiking rates/schedules change.

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    I Drove there the last two years and find it to be a pleasantly mellow / low key event with good speakers. Looking forward to participating this year.


    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Quick question Laurie: How crazy is this event? By pure coincidence, my wife and I should be hiking through there northbound right about then. I'm sure this is a cool event, and I think what you're doing to promote flip/flops (or other alternatives) is fantastic, but in general, we don't like big crowds. But not-too-big crowds are fine with us.

    Right now we're starting at Daleville VA, heading north, and our normal MPD rate would get us there right about on April 28. We could shift our start point either north or south to avoid this festival, or stay put and embrace this festival, depending on your answer, if you decide to respond to my silly question.

    thanks in advance.

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    I hope it's late April for 2020 too.

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