Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep may have had their Bridges of Madison County, but that was in Iowa. Everyone who knows anything about covered bridges knows that Parke County is the Covered Bridge Capital of the world.
You can commemorate this fact at the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival, from October 9 – 18, throughout all of Parke County.
There are 9 communities in Parke County that you can visit as part of your driving and walking tour of The Bridges of Parke County, but the main event is taking place in Rockville on the courthouse lawn. Many nonprofits will serve food as part of their fund raising effort, as well as a large number of crafters and vendors in tents around the courthouse. They will be there every day from 9 am to 6 pm, and there will be free entertainment on the south side of the courthouse each day.
If you don’t feel like driving, take one of the daily bus tours. You can get tickets for $10 for adults, $7 for kids under 12, and lap sitters are free. (And no, asking a very close friend to ride on your lap does not qualify for a free ticket.) Choose from one of three routes, red, yellow, or brown, and visit 5 – 6 bridges on each route.
- The Red route covers the southern part of Parke County, stopping in Bridgeton and Rosedale.
- The Yellow route visits the country farm communities, including Bloomingdale and Tangier.
- The Brown Route heads west and stops in Montezuma (home of the big Hog Roast), and Mecca, which will have a tent of homemade items.
There’s so much going on in Parke County, not just in Rockville, that you may need more than one day just to take it all in. According to the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival website, you can visit seven other communities and the different delicacies and goodie
- Bridgeton offers a wide array of crafters and vendors, a gristmill, the 1878 House, and Case Log Cabin.
- The Historic Mansfield Roller Mill, Mansfield Bridge, and hundreds of vendors and crafters are open daily in Mansfield Village.
- Montezuma is home to the “Hog Roast” with many activities scheduled daily.
- Mecca has a large tent of handmade items for your purchasing. The tent is located at the Mecca Bridge along side the One Room Schoolhouse.
- The Florida Civic Center in Rosedale provides items for your browsing and purchasing. This is a great location to find the treasure you might not find anywhere else.
- Tangier Community serves that “world famous” buried beef that is a delicacy of the festival.
- Bloomingdale, a Quaker Community, prepares Homemade Apple Butter at the Friends Church.
Photo: Indiana Shutterbug