ROCKVILLE, Ind. (WTHI)- Sixty-two years ago the Covered Bridge Festival began in Rockville. One of those first vendors can still be found here on the square.
That's where Jim Meece, a Parke County Commissioner, as well as his family have made over fifty ton of sassafras candy.
"My mother started making sassafras candy about nineteen sixty. We had maple syrup before that. So I’ve been here for every one of these. This is my sixty-second covered bridge festival since I was seven years old," said Meece.
Meece is one of the hundreds of vendors throughout the county. They continue to remind visitors of how this festival came to be. That is the thirty-one covered bridges that can be found around the county.
While many people come here to shop and eat, there's also history to learn. Hundreds of people take bus tours of these covered bridges. Bus tour coordinator Kinsey Norman says it’s great to see such interest in theses bridges history.
"Each year I’m not sure if it's a trend or if I’m doing something different and right be we've been selling out quick. I started taking reservations this year July first and it’s helped immensely," said Norman.
It’s these visitors to Parke County that have many looking towards the future of the festival. Not only to appreciate their hard labor but to appreciate how far things have come.
"Sometimes its ok to slow down and take a look around you and try to think of another time where all the things we have today wouldn't have had these bridges not existed. Had these bridge builders not done their art, we would have not progressed to where we are today,” said Meece.
Tours for the rest of the festival are sold out sadly, but if you check out the Bridge Festival’s website where they will have more information on how you can find these sights and sounds.