ROCKVILLE, Ind. (WTHI) - The Knapke Family's living room looks like something out of Santa's workshop.
Only, it's full of Covered Bridge Festival goodies.
"This is my regular job, believe it or not, if you can say this is a regular job, this is it," Covered Bridge Festival Vendor Kathy Knapke said.
Kathy and her husband, Tom, started their business 18 years ago, Nuts and Such 18, to send their daughter to school.
"We used that money to help pay for her college and all five girls after that," Knapke said.
This year, they hope to bring in between $12,000 and $15,000.
They specialize in roasted cinnamon almonds and pecans and painted gourds.
"Every year after the festival, I go and get well, hundreds and hundreds of gourds, they have to dry for a year, and I bring them home and clean them and paint them," she said.
It takes 10 to 12 hours to paint each one.
"Now we're down to 16 hours a day preparation time, I mean I will paint morning until late in the evening at this time of year."
The nuts are last.
"Two to three weeks before the festival, we'll get a load of 1,500 pounds of nuts and 700 pounds of sugar and then we'll begin the festival."
Across the way, Vicki Newlin spends every day painting.
"If it's got a covered bridge on it, it's usually gone," Covered Bridge Festival Vendor Vicki Newlin said.
She's been selling frame paintings, slates and saws for about 30 years.
"I wouldn't be doing this probably if it wasn't for the festival," Newlin said.
In fact, she bought this building to prepare and hold her inventory.
It's a busy time for vendors, creating special souvenirs for visitors.
"They want to take a little bit of that home with them."
So, they too, can bring a little something back to their piggy banks.
The Covered Bridge Fest starts October 12 and runs through October 21.
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