The 2021 Parke County Covered Bridge Festival started Friday! The event continues until this coming Sunday, Oct. 17. The festival is located in a few different towns: Rockville, Bellmore, Billie Creek Village, Bloomington, Bridgeton, Mansfield, Mecca, Montezuma, Rosedale, and Tangier. All of these places have a number of activities and attractions available, although the majority of things are in Rockville.

For someone who is not an Indiana native—such as me—the Covered Bridge Festival can be a bit confusing. Although the festival spans several different towns in Indiana, it is specifically in Parke County, which encompasses all of the aforementioned towns. There is not a lot of information readily available on the history of the festival, but it seems that it started in the mid-1900s. There are covered bridges in almost every town within Parke County, hence the name of the festival. There is a lot of history behind the covered bridges in Indiana, and the Covered Bridge Festival celebrates the history of both the bridges and the people in those towns.

There is a plethora of activities and events going on in the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival. There are plenty of athletic activities available, such as golfing, hiking, canoeing and camping. If shopping is more your thing, you are in luck. Parke County has antique shops, thrift stores, clothing stores, and much, much more. You can get freshly made sweets, handcrafted woodworking, or basically anything else you could think of. There are also plenty of Amish stores, where you can get homemade jam and jelly, meats, cheeses, and clothes. As for food and eating, there are more options than you can imagine. There are buffets, bars, grills, and lots of food vendors who are just there for the Covered Bridge Festival. When it comes to sweet treats, you can find ice cream, doughnuts, baked goods, and candy all around Parke County.

If somehow you are still looking for things to do, there are musicians and other performing groups who will be there. Best of all, there are four different places you can get maple syrup! As a lover of all things maple, I am very excited.

No matter what you decide to do at the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival, I hope you have fun. I almost wish the festival was longer, because there are so many things to do! Be safe!