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Roann raising funds for festival

COVERED BRIDGE: The Eel River Covered Bridge rests on Roann Lukens Lake Road at 288 feet long and 15 feet wide. The bridge itself was constructed by Smith Bridge Company based in Toledo, Ohio in 1877, making the bridge 142 years-old.

BY Kaitlin Gebby

kgebby@wabashplaindealer.com

The Roann Covered Bridge Festival Committee is holding a fundraiser this weekend to continue the tradition of a free annual festival in the town.

The annual Roann Covered Bridge Festival is a four-day event that draws families from around the county and region to celebrate the town’s heritage. The festival is typically held the weekend after Labor Day, and this year is no different. This year’s festival begins Thursday, Sept. 5 and will end Sunday, Sept. 8. The event coincides with other popular festivals in the county, including the Eel River Arts Festival and the Dam to Dam Century Ride.

Clerk Treasurer Bob Ferguson said the festival is “by far” the biggest event of the year. He said the annual festival brings back families and memories for those who have moved away or grown up enjoying the four-day affair.

“The week of the Covered Bridge Festival brings a lot of people to our town, and brings a lot of people back,” he said. “My kids come back and share their memories of going to the festival with their kids … It means a lot to the community.”

What means even more to the community, Festival Coordinator Donna Harman said, is that the festival remains free and accessible to all.

Featured every year at the Covered Bridge Festival is free live entertainment. In years past, Harman said guests have been “surprised at what bands we can get to a place like Roann.”

Harman said the festival celebrated 100 years in Roann two years ago, making it one of the oldest traditions in the town.

This year she said they’re hoping for better weather. For the first time in decades, the Roann Covered Bridge Festival was rained out last year for three of the four days. She said vendors who’d attended the festival for more than 20 years had never seen it rained out.

She added that the committee was looking for a group of younger volunteers. She said it takes around 10 people to set up stage equipment for live entertainment, but would like extra help for additional set up this year.

The fundraiser this Saturday will be held at the Roann Community Building. Richvalley Tenderloin Meals will be served from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Adults can eat for $9, children for $6 and sandwiches will be sold for $5. Harman said all proceeds from the event will go to support the festival.