News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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October 14, 2013

Covered Bridge Festival: Horses, crafts on the Square

Rockville features food, carriage rides, music

ROCKVILLE — As she sat on a horse-drawn wagon, 1 1⁄2 year old Mya cheerfully said, “Yay!” and clapped her hands together. Mya enjoyed a 15-minute ride Sunday afternoon in Parke County on a wagon pulled by a horse named Pete, accompanied by her parents, two sisters and a brother.

The family explored the busy sights and sounds around Rockville square with Larry Sample of P&T Carriage Rides leading the way.

The horse-drawn wagon ride is only one of many activities at the 57th Parke County Covered Bridge Festival, which started Friday and runs through Oct. 20.

Hundreds of thousands of people flock to Parke County for the 10-day countywide event featuring 31 historic covered bridges and fall-weather activities. It has gained a reputation for being one of Indiana’s largest festivals, filled with food, shopping and entertainment.

In addition to being the venue for crafters and vendors, the courthouse lawn in Rockville also functioned as a festival food court.

The popular choice for lunch appeared to be soup in a bread bowl.

“They’re delicious,” said Sherry Gettinger, as she enjoyed her broccoli and cheese soup in a bread bowl.

It was a good-sized portion.

“Very good,” her son Ryan said as he took a bite of his chili in a bread bowl.

His girlfriend, Jessie Hyche, enjoyed the chicken noodle soup.

Attending the Covered Bridge Festival is “an every-year thing” for the family, Gettinger said, for the past 20 years.

“It’s just fun to come and hang out with family and friends [and] eat good food,” said Gettinger, who traveled from Westville for the event.

She also brought along her in-laws from North Carolina, who had lunch with the family.

Gettinger said she shopped at Mansfield the previous day and planned to shop for more crafts after lunch.

“We’re still getting started,” she said.

As they enjoyed lunch, attendees were entertained by musicians near the courthouse steps.

One entertainer was Terre Haute resident Ross David, who was there for three hours Sunday morning.

“Since 9 o’clock it’s been fun,” the Indiana State University student told his listeners.

And David received “the biggest compliment” from his the festival attendees.

Many people bought his CD and asked him to sign it.

Other attendees enjoyed shopping at the festival.

Charity Anderson said she and her daughter Alyssa were out to “spend money” and “just look at all the different stuff.”

They have been attending the festival for three years.

First-time festival shoppers and Illinois residents Diane Redding and Kristen Rangel were accompanied by Leona Korso and Taylor Fitzpatrick, who have been to the festival before. The group stood at the area where Larry Sample set up his wagon ride. They took turns taking pictures with Pete, the horse.

“We’ve had a great time. Food is awesome,” Korso said of the Covered Bridge Festival.

“We’ve done a lot of shopping,” Redding, of Kankakee, Ill., said. “We are helping Indiana’s economy.”

And they will continue to help next year.

“It’s a yearly thing now,” Korso said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.

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