Bridge festival fosters community connection
By Megan Herrema | Echo
This weekend, the Matthews Lions Club will host its 46th Cumberland Covered Bridge Festival next to the last remaining covered bridge in Grant County.
According to Festival Chairman Roger Richards, over 10,000 people attend the festival each year.
“It brings the community together,” Richards said. “There are a lot of people who have moved away and families that live somewhere else (who) come back for the Covered Bridge Festival every year because they know they will get to see friends and people they haven’t seen for a long time.”
The festival also connects Taylor students to the Grant County community. Sophomore Anna Evans volunteered at the festival last year, collecting donations for a tractor “shuttle” that picked up Matthews community members in their own neighborhoods and brought them to the festival.
“It’s a perfect sample of the culture of northern Indiana,” Evans said. “I also got to see a lot of the community that they have. It was very friendly and personable.”
This year, Taylor World Outreach (TWO) Community Outreach is recruiting students to help with similar tasks: picking up trash, collecting donations, stamping hands and assisting at the Matthews Lions Club frosted malt stand. Students can sign up to volunteer through a Google document provided in this week’s student announcements.
Students can also participate as festival-goers. A variety of antique cars and tractors will be displayed, as well as a steam-powered threshing machine and sawmill. Throughout the weekend, local singers, bands and entertainers will perform. Flea market, craft and food vendors will be open all weekend long.
The festival will be held next to the Cumberland Covered Bridge, northeast of Matthews and adjacent to the Mississinewa River. Admission is $2 for adults and free for children 10 and under. Parking is free. The festival will be open Friday, Sept. 9 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m; Saturday, Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.