Mansfield Village is located in Parke County, Indiana and is famous for being a part of the Covered Bridge Festival that is held every October. The festival is considered one of the top fall festivals in the country and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Mansfield lies in western Indiana and has a population of 7,512. The climate tends towards very cold in the winter with hot, humid summers, which is fairly typical for the middle of the country. Tornadoes are somewhat rare, with only eight being reported in the last 50 years.
Mansfield Village was founded in 1820 and was originally given the name of New Dublin by one of the builders of the still-existing roller mill, James Kelsey. The town grew around that mill and eventually grew into a busy town of 300 residents. The Mansfield Roller Mill is still a historic attraction in the present day with hundreds of visitors every year.
Mansfield Village hosts several festivals each year that draw hundreds to thousands of tourists as well as locals. The most famous is the Covered Bridge Festival, of which Mansfield plays a large part. However, the Mansfield Village Mushroom Festival is another big draw in the spring celebrating the season and the tasty morel mushroom. The festival includes organized mushroom hunts and a car show. Mansfield also hosts a Cornbread Festival and an Old Fashioned Christmas festival in time for the winter holidays.
The Indiana covered bridge festival is one of the largest festivals in the country and starts every October on the second Friday of the month. The festival includes all the communities within Parke County, which is considered the covered bridge capital of the world. The hub of the festival since 1957 is Rockville, Indiana, and visitors can find entertainment choices ranging from shopping to food to amusement park rides. The bulk of the festival takes place on the Rockville courthouse lawn, but the bridges themselves are spread around Parke County with each town serving up their own unique take on the festival.
In Rockville, visitors will find food from non-profit vendors, local craftsmen, antique shops, art displays and plays put on at the Historic Ritz Theater. Over in Bridgeton, more craftsmen and vendors ply their trade and visitors can explore the old gristmill or visit the 1878 House. In Mansfield, the Mansfield Bridge, civic center and old roller mill are available for visiting daily. The village of Montezuma hosts a Hog Roast every year for the festival and has many other activities on a daily basis. Visit the Mecca Bridge in Mecca and then check out the nearby large tent featuring many local homemade goods.
Other communities and bridges participating in the festival include Rosedale, Tangier Community, Bloomingdale, the Bowsher Ford Bridge, the Portland Mills Bridge, the Billie Creek Bridge and the Beeson Bridge. Covered bridges are open to foot traffic and must be crossed at a walk. Bus tours are available for the festival and depart from the headquarters in Rockville twice daily.
Every year in October, the residents of Parke County, Indiana get together for a 10-day celebration known as the Covered Bridge Festival. The festival began as a 3-day event. The women living in Parke County wanted to provide a festival that would accommodate tourists coming to the area just to learn about the unique properties of the 31 cover bridges in Parke County. The first festival in 1957 was a smaller version of what visitor enjoy today.
Mansfield is the proud home of one of the most famous covered bridges of Parke County. The old Covered Bridge, built in 1867 for a pricey $12,200, spans the Big Raccoon Creek. This is the longest covered bridge in Parke County. It extends a total of 247 feet, and is still fully functional today. The bridge is part of the historic Mansfield Mill and dam. Initially built as a way for covered wagons to cross, today the bridge still has a maximum capacity of over 10 tons.
The festival held every fall welcomes visitors from all over the country looking to experience the splendor of the changing leaves in this picturesque region of Indiana. When coming to Mansfield for the Covered Bridge Festival, you’ll find it centrally located just 55 miles for Indianapolis.
Don’t this even one Covered Bridge Festival. The festival features bus tours that take you around to different areas of the county, vendors including antique sales, food and entertainment. The Mansfield Civic Center near the bridge will play host to hundreds of crafters and other vendors as part of the festival offerings. This year the Covered Bridge Festival promises to be something to see. Come curious, hungry and looking for fun.