By Larry Bemis
There will be no 2020 Parke County Covered Bridge Festival. After 63 years, the event, like most others, will take a pause for the pandemic that has swept the world.
The Parke County Commissioners voted Monday to not permit the festival to happen this year, ordering that the County Auditor not sell Transient Merchant Licenses (TML’s) to vendors and requesting the Health Department to not issue temporary food permits for vendors during the ten-day festival period, October 9-18.
Commissioner president Jim Meece said he had discussed the issue with many constituents and held several meetings with local merchants and business men and women, and received numerous phone calls and emails. He noted that of the 1,333 TML’s issued last year, only 151 were to county residents. All of the others were to vendors who came from somewhere else, many from virus “hotspots.”
He noted that the county has had 64 cases of COVID-19, with 23 currently active and one, a 20-year-old, hospitalized. Those infected ranged in age from 4 to 88, and one of those 64 died of the virus. With a current positivity rate near 10% (one in every ten people tested have the virus, even if they do not show symptoms), an estimated crowd of one million visitors would mean the possibility of 100,000 having the virus and bringing it into the county.
For the full article, see this week’s edition of the Parke County Sentinel.