PARKE Co., Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Robert Spoerlein said he and his friend traveled a long way to Rockville, Indiana for their first Covered Bridge Festival.

“We took a little bit of a roundabout way. It was probably 190 miles from Schaumburg, Illinois,” he said.

They said they’ve enjoyed walking on the covered bridges and driving through them.

“My girlfriend says well the weight is only five ton. I said well if this car is that heavy then we’ve got problems,” Spoerlein said.

The festival celebrates the dozens of covered bridges that were once built to make traveling the area easier.

“During the time there was probably more ravines in this county that required crossing and as a result of that, that’s how we developed so many covered bridges in the county. Out of need to just get across the county,” said Jerry Newlin with Parke County.

Some of the bridges can still be driven over while others cannot.

We’ve tried to preserve as many of those as we can. Some of them… I think 31 we’re still driving through and we probably have around 25 others that are off set to the side.
Not only does the festival provide family fun, the tradition supports the local community.

“It’s a big economic boost for Parke County and the people who live here and own properties and things here,” Newlin said.

The festival also gives Parke County a deep sense of pride.

“For them to still stand today and provide travel for us and provide an opportunity for people to come and see a part of the past, it’s a treasure in itself,” Newlin said.

The Covered bridge festival takes place in several locations throughout Parke County, including Bridgeton and Mansfiel and goes through Cctober 20.