PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — After being cancelled last year due to COVID-19, the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival is set to make its return Oct. 8-17.
Last year was the first year there wasn’t a Covered Bridge Festival since 1957, a decision that did not come easy for county commissioners.
“It was probably the hardest decision or most difficult decision to make that I’ve ever had to make in my 18 years as commissioner,” said Jim Meece, president of Parke County Board of Commissioners. “As far as making the decision itself, it was pretty clear cut. We didn’t have much choice.”
Locations for the Covered Bridge Festival include Rockville, Bridgeton, Mansfield, Montezuma, Bloomingdale, Bellmore, Mecca, Rosedale and Tangier.
Doug Weisheit with the Parke County Convention and Visitors Commission says people have already started making hotel reservations in anticipation of this year’s festival. He adds it’s exciting to see, especially for vendors who lost revenue last year when the festival was cancelled.
“The ones that were the most adversely were Indiana residents or midwestern residents or U.S. citizens that had booths here. Cause they had no sale opportunity,” Weisheit said. “The other major group that was affected was the land owners that rent out their spaces and rent out their building for booth spaces.”
Meece says when the festival first started, it attracted around 250 people but has now grown to see more than a million visitors attending the 10-day event.
This is and has been the largest festival in the state. We have a lot of businesses who really rely on that business,” said Meece. “That spurt during that 10-day festival and the days before and the days after. It’s a great thing for our businesses but it’s also a great thing for our people.”