For the best in fall festivals it’s hard to beat the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival. The largest festival in the state of Indiana and one of the largest in the Midwest, the 10-day, county-wide event always starts the second Friday in October and draws 1.5 million visitors each year.
Named among the 2009 Top 100 Events by the American Bus Association, and 2005 winner of Travelocity’s “Big Secrets Local Finds,” the festival was started 57 years ago as a three-day event to highlight the county’s 31 historic covered bridges. A 3-hour drive from Chicago, the festival has expanded over the years throughout Parke County where you can visit quaint country towns, take in the colorful fall leaf colors and walk through a real covered bridge.
The three main festival locations are Rockville, Mansfield Village and Bridgeton, all featuring a myriad of vendors selling everything from crafts to antiques to clothing, home decor and so much more, in addition to their own craft and antique shops and eateries.. The food is endless, too, from ham and beans simmering in a huge iron kettle on an open fire outdoors, to fudge and homemade pies.