The Covered Bridge Festival always begins the second Friday in October and runs for 10 days.
In 8th grade, my best friend swiped her mom’s copy of the Bridges of Madison County and we read that thing front to back. The most scandalous part, the inscription on the cover written to my friend’s mom from her boyfriend. Yes, we read that thing, cover to cover. When I moved to Indiana, I figured that with all of the bridges around here, the novel should have taken place in Indiana, not Iowa.
This year, the festivals in Parke County take place October 11th-20th.
Last Fall, Jay, Lulu and I loaded up the car and headed west for the bridges of Parke County. Parke County is the “covered bridge capital of the world” and has 31 bridges. Beginning on the 2nd Friday of October each year, the Covered Bridge Festival(s) run for 10 days and the number of people attending was such a surprise to me! We started out in a tent on the courthouse lawn in Rockville where food vendors and crafters and artists were set up with all of their wonderful items for sale.
Since it was my first Covered Bridge Festival, I was very confused that there wasn’t a bridge to be seen! We stopped by the festival booth and asked about the bridges and we were given a map that detailed the self guided driving tours available. A map is not necessary because different colored routes are set up with great signage for drivers and bicycle riders. Back to the car we went (bring a few dollars for parking) and set off on a tour that took us to several bridges and finally we ended up in Bridgeport. OH.MY.FESTIVAL!
With over 400 vendors, Bridgeport is THE place to be for the Covered Bridge Festival. I’m so glad that we didn’t miss it! Plan for crowds, plan for traffic and plan to spend the entire day! Bridgeport is a must visit. Here is the address for the Bridgeton Mill which will put you smack dab in the middle of the festival (8104 Bridgeton Rd, Bridgeton, IN 47836). Have fun and enjoy the nice fall drive!
Our GPS indicated that it would take about an hour and a half when we followed 465 to Rockville Road/36 but it took us 3 hours with all of the traffic. Take I-70 if you want a less “scenic” route! There are many, many yard sales that take place all along 36.