50th Centreville Covered Bridge Days looks to be biggest yet

CENTREVILLE — When major milestone anniversaries for festivals come around, they tend to go all-out with games, activities and festivities throughout the entirety of the event.

This year’s Centreville Covered Bridge Days, the 50th year for the festival, looks to be taking a page out of that playbook.

The annual Covered Bridge Days festival returns to Centreville this weekend, Friday, July 15 and Saturday, July 16, with a slew of events new and returning dotting nearly every hour of the schedule.

“I’m super excited for our 50-year celebration,” Covered Bridge Days Committee Co-Chair Dawn Quirin said. “I’m hoping we can bring some honor to our community and our past committee members in this year’s celebration. We worked really hard trying to make this year’s event memorable for our community. It’s a super-big milestone.”

Festivities on Friday begin at noon with the Kid Zone, which goes on until 9 p.m. and features putt-putt golf, a ball toss and frisbee throw to entertain the young ones, as well as free bounce houses and vendors on the courthouse lawn until 10 p.m. Family Bingo will take place on Friday from 5-7 p.m., as well as the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Ice Cream Eating Contest at 5:30 p.m. There will be a magic show by Grand Magic Theater, Touch-A-Truck, a fire station open house, the annual cornhole competition and the annual pie-eating contest at 6 p.m., while trailer rides provided by the DAR, a karaoke lip-sync challenge between local fire departments and police departments will occur at 7 p.m., and a family water balloon toss will occur at 8 p.m.

Friday night is capped off by fireworks at Firm Foundation Ministries at 10 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule will be jam-packed as well, and begins early with the Kids’ Fishing Derby at Langley Covered Bridge Park at 7:30 a.m., the car show on Main Street at 8 a.m., and a 5K run beginning at FitStop 24 at 8:30 a.m. The morning continues with a pancake breakfast by the Centreville Lions Club from 8-11 a.m., open karaoke from 8 a.m. to noon, and a free family fun triathlon at 11 a.m. A family scavenger hunt will occur from 1-3 p.m. Other competitions headlining the day include another ice cream eating contest at 1 p.m. and the adult pie eating contest at 2 p.m.

Capping off Saturday will be the street parade, which begins at 6 p.m. The parade route begins at the St. Joseph County Fairgrounds, goes west to East Burr Oak Street, turns north onto Nottawa Street, and then heads west onto Main Street.

Following the parade will be live music by the Moon Howlers, with a 1970s-themed teen/family dance on Main Street in celebration of the 50th year of the festival.

“We’re hoping that we can get some people dressed in their 70s wear and come out and dance the night away with our band,” Quirin said.

With the number of events going on with this year’s festival, Quirin said it could be the biggest Covered Bridge Days in its history.

“That was our goal. We definitely expanded, we’ve expanded hour-wise,” Quirin said.

This year’s event features a number of family-oriented events, which Quirin said was intentional to help give families something fun to do while they attend the festival.

“Our goal is to bring families together. We’re coming out of COVID, and families were together a lot but not able to do stuff,” Quirin said. “We want to be able to change up that experience a bit and allow them to get out and do things together and make some fun memories and realize that maybe we’re starting to come out of the COVID experience and just enjoy each other in a different kind of way than they’ve been used to in the last couple years.”

Quirin also mentioned some of the historically-themed events on the schedule, including a wreath-laying ceremony at the grave of Margaret Langley on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the old Centreville cemetery, a Meet The Founders event at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the cemetery, and an event about understanding gravestone engraving at 10 a.m. Saturday. She said having those events helps honor the village’s past.

“It’s great, especially with Margaret Langley being buried over in the old Centreville cemetery and having that connection with the Covered Bridge and being able to go over and lay that wreath,” Quirin said.

With the street parade, Quirin said while it’s been short in the past few years, the Covered Bridge Days Committee has been working to try to extend it for this year’s event.

“We’ve invited a few more people; we’ve extended our invites to more fire departments, and hopefully we can get some more participation with that and make it more fun and exciting,” Quirin said. “Obviously, we love all of the police cars and fire trucks that kids enjoy experiencing. I’d love to see some high school bands come out, but it’s summer time so it’s hard to get that population to come in.”

Overall, Quirin said she’s looking forward to this weekend’s festivities to mark the 50th year of the event.

“I’m looking forward to smiles and laughter and excitement,” Quirin said. “I’m looking forward to good weather, and I want to scroll through social media and see #CentrevilleCoveredBridge2022 and see how much fun our community was able to have, enjoying each other and our community, just to see them all come together and celebrate our love for this community.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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