PARKE COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — It’s that time of year again, the temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing colors, and suddenly every available green space along U.S. 41 heading into and through Parke County is hosting yard sales.

It’s Covered Bridge Festival time.

WTWO’s Dana Winklepleck was there live and spoke with businesses and organizations in Parke County including the 1817 House, Rick’s Smokehouse, and the Bridgeton Mill.

As folks from all over descend upon the rural farming communities of Parke County, The Sheriff is asking residents and visitors alike to be mindful of the increased traffic and pedestrians as they drive around the area.

Sheriff Jason Frazier said the event brings in more than a million visitors to the area over a ten-day span and with that in mind he reminds folks to be on the lookout for farm equipment on the roadways as the harvest season is in full swing, as well as Amish buggies with the area’s large Amish population.

In addition to being cognizant of your surroundings while driving, the sheriff provided the following tips for those attending the festival.

General tips for attending:

1) Have cash on hand. A lot of vendors will accept cards, but the internet service can’t necessarily be relied upon.

2) If you are planning to meet up with individuals, have a clear plan in place before arriving. Agree to the location and time before you’re without cell phone service. It may even be helpful to send a photo of yourself to your group so that they know what you have on.

3) Make sure you have enough fuel in your tank before taking off. There are no gas stations in the smaller outlying towns.

4) And again, because of limited cellular/GPS signal, it is highly advised to go a little old school and print a paper copy of the area you want to visit. Or, at the very least take a screenshot of a map on your phone. Your GPS may get you there, but it may not be able to reconnect upon trying to leave.

Longtime repeat visitors will see changes in the town of Bridgeton where Bridgeton Road has been closed off to motor vehicles to allow more room for pedestrian traffic during the daytime.

The closures read as listed, closures are effective daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

  • Bridgeton Rd. will be closed at the north side of Bridgeton Rd., continuing to Kalley St.
  • Hawkins Rd. will be closed beginning at Hawkins Parking Lot, until the intersection of Bridgeton Rd.
  • Searing St. will be closed from 8351 Searing St., to Hawkins Rd.
  • ALL side streets between Searing St. and/or Crooks St. and Bridgeton Rd. will be closed. This includes all alleys.
  • Volunteer Way will be a one-way street to the direction of the west only.
Image of map of Bridgeton courtesy of the Parke County Sheriff’s office

For more information including links to a downloadable Parke County map covering the numerous towns and villages participating in the festival, visit the Covered Bridge Festival website here.