Our neighbor to the west, Parke County is home to 31 Covered Bridges crossing creeks and rivers in some of the most beautiful, tranquil settings, made all the more attractive by the reds, oranges and golds of fall. In 1957, some bright minds decided to highlight that history and charm and launch what has become Indiana’s largest festival, one that today consumes the county and the region, attracting well over one million guests during its annual 10-day run.
Headquartered on the courthouse lawn in Rockville, the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival might be defined by the smell of camp and cooking fires in the fall air. Streets around the courthouse are filled with artisans, crafters and a variety of vendors. The roads wind through all of the covered bridges and every little burg, where exceptional local foods are served hot by exceptionally friendly people. Think ham and beans from a giant cauldron hanging over an open fire and cornbread out of a dutch oven. Think pulled pork that includes local maple syrup as an ingredient in the barbecue.
In a small, rural Indiana county, it will catch your attention how each little town is very different from the last…and the next. You’ll keep traveling this countywide event because what’s around the next bend will intrigue you, through towns with names like Montezuma, Mecca, Rosedale, and Bridgeton. Of course, maps to all the bridges are easy to come by, and all roads lead back to Rockville, where the shopping continues from 9 to 6 and free entertainment is scheduled on the south side of the courthouse throughout each of the 10 days.