Festival celebrates bridges

The 43nd-annual Washington and Greene Counties Covered Bridge Festival will be held Sept. 21-22 with events and fairs being held at 10 different sites throughout both Pennsylvania counties.

Local sites include the Hanover-McClurg Covered Bridge at the Hanover Township Park in Florence, the Krepps Bridge on Covered Bridge Road in Mount Pleasant Township, and the Pine Bank Bridge at the Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historical Village in Avella.

Admission and parking are free.

Each of the 10 sites offers a different array of activities, including handmade arts and crafts, home-style foods, historical re-enactments, crafting demonstrations and entertainment.

The Hanover McClurg Bridge, built in 1880, once spanned Kings Creek on Devil’s Den Road and was informally known as the “Devil’s Den Bridge,” but after preservation efforts began, it was learned it was officially named after the McClurg family, who owned the land bordering the bridge. More than 20 years ago, the bridge was purchased by the park board for $1, and volunteers moved it, piece by piece, to its location in the park, where it spans a gully.

Country bands and gospel music will be featured Sept. 21, and contemporary and gospel music will be featured Sept. 22. The Pioneer Cloggers will perform at 2 p.m. Sept. 21, and The Donahues will perform at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 22.

Craft vendors will offer seasonal and holiday wood crafts, wreaths, door hanging, sculptures, bead work, jewelry and pottery. A variety of food also will be available.

For information, call Patty Rhoades at (724) 729-3657.

The Krepps Bridge Festival is sponsored by the Hickory United Presbyterian Church and features live entertainment hourly on stage both days.

The event also features homemade foods, an antique tractor show, antique and classic car and truck show and Civil War re-enactors. Vendors will be offering crafts, jewelry home decor, personal care items, fall plants and a silent auction. The children’s area includes a zip line, games, inflatables, a slide and visits with the site’s mascot, Kreppsy the Troll.

There will be an outdoor church service at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 22, led by the Everlasting Joy Praise Band. The site will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.

For information, visit the church’s website at hickoryup.org or call (724) 356-3428.

The Pine Bank Bridge, built in 1871, is the oldest surviving covered bridge in southwestern Pennsylvania. It was one of the four original sites at the festival’s beginning.

The museum includes a 19th century living history village with a one-room school, blacksmith shop, church and log houses, where visitors can see re-enactors forge iron, make traditional open hearth dishes, spinning wool into yarn or “teaching” at the schoolhouse.

The museum also includes a 16th century walled American Indian village, where visitors can visit a wigwam, a traditional “Three Sisters” garden and hunting and fishing camp. Hands-on opportunities include using an atlatl, a prehistoric spear thrower; pounding corn into meal with a mortar; cracking nuts with a nutting stone; and drilling holes with a pump drill.

There also are exhibits on horse-drawn equipment, harness racing and country store memorabilia. The rockshelter is a prehistoric campsite that dates back 16,000 years. A ticket is required to visit the rockshelter.

It will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 21 and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 22.

For information, visit www.heinzhistorycenter.org or call (724) 587-3412.

Other bridges included in the festival include the Brownlee Bridge in McGuffey Community Park, Washington County; Carmicheals Bridge in Carmicheals, Greene County; Ebenezer Bridge and Henry Bridge, Mingo Creek County Park, Washington County; Hughes Bridge, Amwell Township, Washington County; White Bridge, Garads Fort, Greene County; and Wyit Sprowls Bridge, East Finely Township Park, Washington County.

There are a total of 23 covered bridges in Washington County and seven in Greene County, most of which were built between 1875 and 1889. Pennsylvania has a total of 208 covered bridges still standing.