Some Covered Bridge Festival Facts:
- 18 covered bridges dot Ashtabula County, more than any other Ohio county.
- The Mechanicsville Road Bridge is the second longest single span covered bridge in Ashtabula County.
- The Smolen-Gulf Bridge measures 613' and is the longest in the U.S., also the fourth longest in the world. The bridge was named after former county engineer John Smolen.
- Covered bridges can last in excess of 150 years.
- Guided or drive-it-yourself tours are available.
October 8 and 9 marks the 28th annual covered bridge festival at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds in Jefferson Township. It is an event I have experienced twice in recent years. The festival began in 1983 when a dedication of the State Road Bridge took place. Nearly 2,000 people showed up that first time. The event grew and the ambiance and Norman Rockwell experience continues today. Pancake breakfasts, parades, antique engine displays, crafts, tractor rides, a farmer's market and more add to this slice of Americana. The guided or drive-it-yourself tour offers a chance to follow two distinct courses, one short, the other longer. Both allow you the opportunity to view spectacular fall foliage and immerse yourself as you travel across the early transportation routes of the Western Reserve. The road names Girdled, Chillicothe, and Old State recall this bygone transportation history. A highlight of this weekend's festival will be the dedication of the shortest bridge. At 18' and constructed of white oak, poplar. spruce and pine, the West Liberty Street Bridge adds to the local lore that is just a few miles beyond the borders of Lake County. If you are looking for an event that is laid back, non-commercial, and generational family based, I suggest you experience the bridges of Ashtabula County sometime soon.
For more information, visit www.coveredbridgefestival.org.