COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Francis Sehy of Centreville tries to eat as much ice cream as he can during the kids’ ice cream eating contest Friday during Centreville’s Covered Bridge Days.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - During the Centreville Covered Bridge Days Parade Saturday, Doug and Nancy Schwartz (second and third from left) receive a special plaque commemorating their Citizens of the Year award from the village, with their family there to celebrate. Pictured from left to right are Clint Schwartz, Doug Schwartz, Nancy Schwartz, Helen Robison, Sarah Smith, London Smith, Avonly Smith, Seth Schwartz, Nanci Schwartz, and Lester Schwartz.COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Ethan Schmidtendorff (right) makes a dragonfly out of pipe cleaners at Seussville Saturday at Centreville’s Covered Bridge Days with the help of “Thing 1” (left, played by Debora Carr).COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Grace Hartong (right) attempts to dunk Centreville High School football coach Jerry Schultz (left) at a charity dunk tank Saturday.

Covered Bridge Days' 50th celebration a success

CENTREVILLE — Despite weather issues on Friday at last weekend’s 50th Covered Bridge Days in Centreville, organizers said things rebounded well enough the next day to deem this year’s edition a successful event.

“We obviously had some rain on Friday, but we were able to reschedule the fireworks and get in some of the things we missed on Saturday, so that was really nice,” Covered Bridge Days Co-Chair Dawn Quirin said in an interview. “We had a great turnout on Saturday, it was a lot of people and it was wonderful to see everyone out there enjoying themselves.”

Afternoon rain on Friday led to the postponement of the fireworks show scheduled for that evening to the next night, where Quirin said it was well-attended, however the rain led to the cancellation of the annual cornhole tournament hosted by The Local Beer Cellar and Pizza Oven restaurant. At one point, the festival’s DJ leaned into the rain event a bit after it cleared up, playing Luke Bryan’s “Rain is a Good Thing” prior to Friday’s ice cream-eating contest.

Quirin said while people were a bit disappointed over the cornhole contest cancellation and the fireworks’ postponement, it ultimately wasn’t organizers’ decision to do so.

“The fireworks we pay for, but we don't make the determination. The company we paid to do that determined that with the ground wet it wouldn't be safe to light those, and obviously safety is our first concern,” Quirin said. “And then the cornhole competition, that was cancelled by The Local, so we just passed on the information. They chose not to reschedule that.”

However, despite those, Quirin said there were plenty of events that received positive feedback that balanced out this year’s event, one of the biggest in the 50 years of the festival. One of the biggest highlights was the annual street parade, which Quirin called the “longest parade we’ve had,” filled with tractors, trailers, floats and fire trucks.

During the parade, Citizens of the Year winners Doug and Nancy Schwartz received a plaque from festival organizers commemorating their selection, as well as a few other goodies.

While a few notable events happened around the weather event Friday, including the annual ice cream-eating contest, Saturday was filled with events from day to night, starting with the annual car show, a pancake breakfast, a 5K, and the kids’ fishing derby. Quirin said the car show raised a total of $810 for Rooted of St. Joseph County, as 81 cars participated in the show.

As for the fishing derby, the contest was won by 10-year-old Reagan Johnson, who had a 9-inch catch, with second place going to 14-year-old Zachary Eicher, and third place going to 13-year-old Bryan Jarratt.

Other goings-on on Saturday included a cookie walk, magic shows by the Grand Magic Theater of Colon, a wreath-laying ceremony and a cemetery tour at the Old Centreville Cemetery, a pie-eating contest, and a number of activities for the kids, including “Seussville,” which had Dr. Seuss-themed activities, with a special appearance by “Thing 1” and “Thing 2.”

A charity dunk tank set up during the event also raised $634 for various charities.

As some on the committee are new to the festival, Quirin said there were some things they learned they can improve on for next year, but that they were happy with how the festival turned out.

“We learned some things we'd like to do differently next year and we obviously learned some things we want to continue to do for following years, but we're absolutely happy with the way it turned out for a relatively new committee,” Quirin said. “We had a couple that were on from years before, but for the most part we're pretty new. We're pretty excited, and for our 50th anniversary we were honored to have a good turnout.”

Overall, Quirin deemed the event a success, and thanked the community for coming to support the festival’s milestone event.

“I'm proud of what we were able to bring to our community. I'm proud of our community for coming together and enjoying each other, enjoying our town and supporting the activities and the events,” Quirin said. “I'm just very happy for the fun and the sharing and the excitement we were all able to have for our 50th anniversary.”

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

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