If you knew me, you probably wouldn’t think that I count down the days until the Covered Bridge Festival in Parke county. The majority of my life consists of social media and culinary adventures, so why would I look forward to going where the Internet is sparse at best and the smell of fried food lingers with you on the car ride home? Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t miss this small town festival for anything.
The Covered Bridge Festival primarily takes place in three areas of Parke county: Mansfield, Bridgeton and Rockville. Many people visit all three either throughout the course of the two weeks or, if they’re ambitious, all in one day. Mansfield is my location of choice because of the hilly landscape, beautiful covered bridges and perfect view of the Raccoon Creek. Oh, and the massive amounts of food.
Mansfield is known for having the largest set up of prepared food popup shops and tents, selling everything from typical fair food like fried onion blossoms to home-style comfort food like chicken and noodles. In order to get a full day’s worth of eating in, I show up early enough for a hot biscuits and gravy breakfast that I work off while walking up and down the hills visiting vendors before lunch.
Mixed in the vendor booths are handmade crafts, rugs, tools, clothing, food products, furniture – you name it, you can probably get it at the Covered Bridge Festival. The Amish owned and operated tents are filled with cheeses, dried noodles and canned goods that you can’t go wrong purchasing. Fresh salsa, beef jerky and apple butter are often in my hands when I leave, and since prices get cheaper as the festival comes to a close, many people take advantages of the cheaper prices and knock out their entire holiday shopping lists!
Besides the actual festival features, the Covered Bridge Festival is at a beautiful time of year in Indiana where the leaves turn and the weather becomes cool and comfortable. The drive is worth it in itself!