White covered bridge celebrates 100 years standing

This year is the 100th anniversary for the Greene County White Covered Bridge. The historic monument has been a part of local culture since its construction in 1919. More recently, it has undergone a complete renovation in 2008 in order to sustain the approximately 6,000 visitors attracted by the bridge. This year, the 49th annual White Covered Bridge Festival celebrated the years the bridge has been standing. White Covered Bridge Association Executive Director Pat Walko said the festival had no hard time finding vendors.

 “Normally we have 10 to 12 vendors on a waiting list for the fest,” Walko said.

Each year, the festival hosts on average 65 vendors, including both new and returning stands. The 10 new vendors this year included Heritage Farms, who sell pasture-raised pork, Down Home Cookin and All N Stitches. Returning vendors included the National Pike Wagon Trail, which holds their only fundraiser at the festival each year by selling food, including Pioneer Breakfast options in the morning. Volunteer firefighters were also represented there, along with returning Native American displays. Even Bear Bottom Boyz came all the way from Florida to sell their salsas, ciders, butters and more at the festival.

The festival also hosts live entertainment, and on average they had 10 bands scheduled for the festival; five per day.

Aside from vendors and live musical entertainment, patrons also viewed live-action civil war reenactments. The reenactments were performed by the 140th Pennsylvania Volunteers Company A Reenactors. This local group is based on a company from the civil war that came from Waynesburg University. The reenactment group included faculty members, students and staff. 

Due to severe flooding last year, the White Covered Bridge Festival was canceled. Last year’s weather had no crippling effects on the festival’s attendance this year, and Walko and Joanne Marshall, tourism director of the Greene County Tourist Promotion Agency, believe their absence the previous year has caused more excitement for this year’s festival.

“The cancellation of last year’s festival because of the rain and the flooding definitely encouraged people to reflect positively on the festival happening this year and increased the anticipation of returning to the grounds for the White Covered Bridge Festival,” Marshall said.

Marshall believes the nearly 50-year-old festival owes much of its success to the community of Greene County.

“Small festivals like this don’t usually get to see that landmark,” Marshall said. “It’s the community support and patronage that has kept is going year after year.”