Covered Bridge Festival focuses on safety and fun

Local News

ROCKVILLE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — With over a million people expected to visit the Covered Bridge Festival this weekend, safety measures are being put in place for everyone.

Parke County Sheriff Justin Cole said with an increase in vehicles and pedestrians, their goal is to keep everyone safe.

“The most common things we seem to stand out or we deal with more frequently during the festival is vehicle accidents,” Sheriff Cole said. “At least once a year it seems like we have a pedestrian that may get struck by a car.”

Parke County officials said there will also be measures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including a drive-thru vaccine clinic at Beechwood Park not far from downtown Rockville. Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be available Oct. 14-16.

“Every entrance in the tent will have hand sanitizing stations so they can use hand sanitizer available at the information booth,” Jim Meece, president of the Parke County board of commissioners, said. “We will also have N-95 mask available for anyone who liked to have a mask if they forgot theirs or decided they want one.”

As harvesting season continues, officials said visitors could be sharing the road with farming equipment.

“One of the real concerns this time of year with the covered bridge festival is farming activities as well and so they have to be aware of farmers being on the road,” Meece said. “Everybody just has to pay attention and work together and be as safe as they possibly can,”

Different first responder command centers will be set up across the county but Sheriff Cole said he is urging everyone to keep their families safe while enjoying their time.

“If you are a pedestrian we ask if you are in one of these congested areas that keep an eye on your children,” Cole said. “We have a lot of kids that get lost. That’s easy to do with that many people packed into a tiny town. It’s challenge on first responders to try to get them located in a timely manner.”

The festival begins Oct. 8 through Oct. 17.

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