October 21, 2010
Parke County Covered Bridge Fest

Covered Bridge Festival of the World

I think I’ve officially outdone myself.

I accept the fact that it’s irresistible to snap a few pictures everywhere I go, but Parke County is absolutely breathtaking with its gorgeous autumn leaves, rolling hills and rich culture. Four days and well over 500 photos later, I’m convinced it’s a must-see Indiana attraction.

The Covered Bridge Festival is the second largest festival in Indiana. The festival sprawls throughout the county, sending visitors winding through harvested fields and under many bridges that make the area “the covered bridge capital of the world.” The bridges are truly sites to be seen; plus following the signs from bridge to bridge is quite fun!

We set up the traveling exhibit in Rockville, IN. I handed out hundreds (and hundreds!) of adjustable measuring spoons and recipes from Indiana’s Family of Farmers. I was surprised to hear how far some visitors had traveled for the festival; many people come annually and look forward to the 10-day celebration all year.   I love hearing about everyone’s food stories, recipes and memories. It’s fun to see people engage with the exhibit and celebrate our Indiana food culture.

I’m consistently amazed by the rich connections and conversations that instantaneously develop over this topic of food. Three people particularly stick out. One woman shared her story of moving back to a rural community, planting a garden and raising her children in this environment. She talked about the beautiful connections between food, growth, learning and family. The other two are a dynamic duo who just opened a coffeehouse on the town square to go along with their Old Jail Inn. Deborah and Tony have an unbelievable commitment to investing in their local economy through new (food-centered!) business, as well as through their warm and inviting personalities that truly welcome every person who enters. They do so much more than sell coffee; they are local leaders and doing fantastic things for their community. If you’re in the area, you must stop and say “hello” to Deborah and Tony!

In the photos below, catch Indiana’s autumn colors, covered bridges, Amish farms, greenhouses and even a few of the innumerable yard sales that always find a way to sprout up at community festivals!
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

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