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  1. #1

    Default 2018 Flip Flop Festival

    Lots of new things at this year's festival, both for flip floppers and the general public.

    • Flip Flop Festival Quest - with Cash prizes. Get 14 stamps from merchants representing the states of the A.T. Along the way, learn fun facts about flip floppers and the A.T. in each state.
    • Private Pack Shakedowns - by advance appointment (Friday afternoon)
    • Craft Beer and Food Tasting at the Gazebo - a charming little spot on the hill between ATC and the historic town.
    • Farmers Market - In Bolivar, about a block from the Teahorse Hostel (Saturday morning/afternoon)
    • REI Workshops - Knot Tying, Gear Repair, and how to make camp coffee (Saturday afternoon)
    • Climbing Wall - Courtesy of River & Trail Outfitters (Saturday afternoon)
    • REI Storytelling Panel - including 2017 Flip floppers "Greeter" and "Spice" and REI staff. (Saturday afternoon)
    • Celebration of Flip Floppers - with photo booth and music. It's a reunion for former flip floppers and flip-floppers in progress, a chance for current flip floppers to meet each other and previous flip floppers, and a fun time for anyone who wants to meet flip floppers and other A.T. enthusiasts (Saturday evening)
    • Bike ride on the C&O Towpath (Sunday afternoon)

    • Backpacking workshops (Saturday)
    • Local Vendors and Food (Saturday)
    • Workshops on Harpers Ferry outdoor pursuits and history (Saturday and Sunday)
    • Pack Shakedowns (Saturday and Sunday)
    • Pancake Breakfast (Sunday morning)
    • Flip Flopper Send-Off (Sunday morning)
    • Ranger-led African American History Hike (Sunday afternoon)
    • 2nd Flip Flopper Send Off (Monday morning)

    The new Flip Flop Festival website has all the details:

    This year, the Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Trail & Town Alliance has stepped up in a big way to take the lead on the festival, primarily in the form of Harpers Ferry A.T. Ambassador James Smyle, a 2016 flip flopper (and 1993 nobo). Mona Lisa, a 2017 flip flopper, has also helped a lot, especially in planning the Celebration of Flip Floppers.

    It's going to be a great family-friendly event, with something for everyone. The festival is free (except for the beer garden/food tasting)

    Laurie P.

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Thurmont, MD


    looking forward to this great AT event again this year!

  3. #3

    Default How many Flip Floppers leave from the Festival?

    Some have asked about the flip flopper "bubble" after the festival.

    There is a comparative spike in the number of flip floppers leaving Harpers Ferry after the festival. However, the bubble of flip floppers is a relatively small blip that dissipates quickly. The last 2 years, we've had about 35 flip floppers, most of whom are spread out over 2 days. Last year the largest group leaving together was 6. That was on Sunday morning at the send-off. We emphasize spreading out, and hikers listen.

    Even the busiest day on the Trail around the flip flop festival is less busy than a typical day during nobo season.

    In June, we have 25-50 long-distance hikers a day, every day, and that's just the thru-hikers and serious section-hikers. It doesn't include the Scouts, weekenders, and section-hikers not intent on doing the entire Trail.

    In the week after the Flip Flop Festival last year, there were 4-8 hikers per day--flip floppers, nobos, and section-hikers combined.

    At the festival, there are a number of future flip floppers in attendance. That's probably the ideal time to come--a year in advance of your hike.

    This year, we'll also have a number of 2017 flip floppers helping out, or coming for the Celebration of Flip Floppers sponsored by REI to have mini-reunions. Are there any WhiteBlazers who are coming?

  4. #4


    Really looking forward to the Flip Flop Festival - canít wait to reconnect with flip floppers that I met last year on the trail, and to meet flip flippers from previous years and those about to start! - Mona Lisa

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Stanhope, NJ
    Journal Entries


    Laurie, has a date been set for 2019's Flip Flop Festival? Thanks.

  6. #6


    No date for the 2019 Flip Flop Festival yet. I'm sure it'll take a few weeks or so after the festival to make a good determination. Glad you asked, though!

    We posted the press release for the 2018 festival at
    Last edited by Lauriep; 04-13-2018 at 17:50.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Peachtree City, GA


    Great Info!

    One question about vendors, are the ZPack guys going to be there?


  8. #8
    Registered User
    Join Date


    Quote Originally Posted by Lauriep View Post
    No date for the 2019 Flip Flop Festival yet. I'm sure it'll take a few weeks or so after the festival to make a good determination. Glad you asked, though!

    We posted the press release for the 2018 festival at
    Just a heads-up. You might want to have your IT people look at this web page. When I go to it, it really makes my computer freeze up. Just opening up that page uses 35% of my CPU capacity. I don't have this problem with most other web pages. Using a PC running Firefox.

  9. #9


    Rick from Georgia,

    Re: your question about Z-packs as a vendor. No, Z-packs won't be at the festival, as the emphasis up until this point has been on local vendors. If the festival continues to grow in scope so there is room for both local and outside specialty gear vendors, then definitely we would want to invite them. REI is participating this year to support the outreach and the mission of the festival, but is not a vendor.

    Odd Man Out, sorry to hear about the problem you encountered, and thanks so much for speaking up. I will pass this along.

  10. #10


    Great update, counting the days!

  11. #11


    Party/Reunion for Flip Floppers - if you are a 2018 Flip Flopper or if you flip flopped in a previous year, you won’t want to miss the Celebration of Flip Floppers next Saturday evening, April 28. It isn’t necessary to register or RSVP for the party, but if you would like to receive the Evite for the event, you can see who is planning to attend (and an RSVP from you will help us plan) - just send me an email at [email protected] and ask for the Flip Flop Evite. - Mona Lisa

  12. #12

    Default Meet & Greet Sat. 9 am for 2018 Flip Floppers; FF Panel Sunday morning at 9:30

    Meet & Greet Saturday morning
    If anyone is a 2018 flip flopper and hasn't heard about the Meet and Greet Saturday morning 9:00 am - 10:00 am through other channels, we still have a little space left.

    This is a chance for this year's flip flop thru-hikers to meet each other at the beginning of the weekend at a quieter setting than the Celebration that starts at The Barn at 5:00 pm.

    ATC's CEO Suzanne Dixon will be there to welcome folks, and some flip floppers from previous years will be there too. This is just a casual get-together, sitting around a table. If you are interested in attending, send me an email at [email protected].

    Flip Flopper Panel Sunday morning 9:30 am
    We have just added a Flip Flopper panel for Sunday at 9:30 am - 10:20 am at the Curtis Freewill Baptist Church. On Saturday, REI will be hosting a Storytelling session with a panel of 5 hikers (that includes 3 flip floppers, 1 an REI employee), but that one is intended for a broad audience. The Sunday morning panel will be more factual information, intended to provide helpful details for prospective flip floppers.

  13. #13
    Registered User jlp1976's Avatar
    Join Date
    Angola, Indiana


    I scheduled my hike of the Maryland section and did not realize the festival was going on the same weekend. I will be going SOBO from Pen Mar to Harpers Ferry starting Sunday afternoon. I guess that section will be a little busier than I thought it would be.

  14. #14


    JLP, Yes, busier than it would be other days around this general time frame. But I think you'll enjoy meeting these hikers! And the weather looks like it will be nice, though kinda hot starting in the middle of the week, at least cooling off at night.

    On the biggest start day around the time of the festival (Monday) we currently have 12 flip floppers registered to start in Harpers Ferry. There may be a few others who didn't register. And you can add to that flip floppers who started further south who are also passing through at that time, and a trickle of nobos, some section-hikers, but nothing like the peak of the nobo season in June, which also coincides with the peak of section-hiker season, peak of weekender season, and the peak of Boy Scout season :-)

    Flip floppers are definitely listening to the guidance from ATC about spreading themselves out, even though their numbers are relatively small.

    Check out the charts at

  15. #15


    I haven't looked over the event in great detail, and maybe this happens already but I will offer a suggestion. Beyond the message of spreading out, perhaps assistance in doing so can be offered if participation grows? A shuttle extending 50-100 miles with drop off points? I'm not sure if hikers intent is to start and finish in Harper's Ferry either. You could further sell the idea by picking hikers up at some distance and encouraging hikers to complete sections around HF to help stagger them.
    "Sleepy alligator in the noonday sun
    Sleepin by the river just like he usually done
    Call for his whisky
    He can call for his tea
    Call all he wanta but he can't call me..."
    Robert Hunter & Ron McKernan User Agreement.

  16. #16


    Alligator, great idea! I would love to see this happen!

    Easier said than done, but every great initiative starts as a vision.

  17. #17

    Default Two Panels - adding one Sunday at 9:30

    For those interested in thru-hiking broadly, flip flopping or flip floppers:

    We've added a second panel Sunday morning in the Curtis Freewill Baptist Church basement from 9:30 am to 10:20 am. It's focused more on the nitty gritty of flip flopping, and will have a different line-up than the panel Saturday. We've got Jekyl, Chrissy Funk, Luna, and possibly one other.

    The Saturday panel at The Barn (a stone's throw west of the Post Office, between the P.O. and the new Rations Cafe) from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm is being organized by REI. It is more focused on storytelling for a broad audience. However, it turns out that 3 of the 4 participants are flip floppers, including Spice and Greeter from 2017.

    If you're undecided about coming, come out to support the towns of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry's in their effort to have an event related to the Appalachian Trail. This year is the first time the towns have sponsored and created events completely of their own as part of the festival.

    Harpers Ferry - Craft Beer and Food tasting at the gazebo
    Bolivar - Farmers Market

    Also, the Flip Flop Festival Quest is a wonderful partnership benefitting and meeting the goals of ATC, the Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Trail & Town Alliance, and Harpers Ferry Merchants. For participants, it should be a lot of fun, and there are cash prizes. I'm not sure of the final amount but I believe there will be 3 winners with prizes totaling somewhere in the vicinity of $200.

    All the details at

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