Parke County Covered Bridge Festival

Amish buggies, the smell of buttery corn on the cob, and funnel cakes all give the warm central Indiana fall a unique midwestern, or hoosier charm, that attracts visitors from all over to the region.
*Rockville Indiana, the county seat of Parke County is and has been the epicenter of the 10-day Covered Bridge Festival, and the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World” every October since 1957. However, this county-fair type atmosphere spills out over the other three towns in Parke County, who also have vendors and local history within minutes of each other for visitors to visit. All while driving scenic country roads full of fall color, through the iconic bridges on the way to their next destination.
2016 marks the 60th year of this Indiana tradition, however visitors who have been coming for generations won’t notice much change from this October to the first festival in 1957.
“The familiarity is something that attracts visitors”, said Kelsey Canfield, Parke County Incorporated Executive Secretary. “People like to come to our festival and see that in our fast paced world, there are somethings that hardly ever change”.
“The festival includes the work of many local artists from wood carvers, to painters who all create pieces inspired by the bridges,” said Canfield.
“Growing up around these bridges, creeks, and hollows is something that I took for granted, until I moved to Indianapolis,” said Missy Foxworthy a local watercolor artist. “But ever since coming back from college I have a new appreciation for how beautiful our county is.”
Parke County has limited lodging for the large numbers of tourists that come each fall. So if you can’t find a room at one of the few hotels in Rockville the best option is the Turkey Run State Park lodge just a few minutes outside of Rockville.
However Turkey Run State Park also books fast, as of 2016 rooms are booked for next years festival one year and for some rooms two years in advance.
“We get more calls than any other park in the state,” said Tara Puckett a clerk at Turkey Run. “I would say almost 80 percent are inquiries about these ten days.”
The state park offers hiking, horseback riding, and canoeing, through the limestone cliffs. The canoe trip even takes you underneath two of the famous covered bridges.
If the outdoors aren’t really your thing, relaxing in front of the fireplace in the great room, while waiting for dinner in the dining room is another popular choice.
If you can’t seem to find a reservation anywhere, or you want to be more in touch with the outdoors campsites are available through the state park.
To book a visit to the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World” during next year’s festival or for more information on lodging, and dining; call (765)-569-5226, or visit

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