COVINGTON – The 30th annual Fort Rowdy Gathering will be held this Labor Day weekend starting on Saturday, Sep. 3, through Monday, Sep. 5. The event will be hosted at the Covington Community Park.
Saturday, the festival runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m; Sunday, it will be held from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m; and on the final day, the festival will go from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The festival is held to depict what Fort Rowdy would have looked like as a small trading post and village when that area was used as a “trade center between Dayton and Greenville,” according to Annette Miller, treasurer of the organization.
Miller has been involved with planning the event for 27 of the 30 years the event has been happening.
“The best part is seeing how many people continually keep coming back,” said Miller, as her response on why she’s still involved. Miller originally became involved because one of her friends was a founding member who has since passed away.
The festival has two main parts, the park side and the encampment side. These sides are separated by the Stillwater River, but connected through a footbridge that is erected for the festival and removed following the ending of the event.
The festival will host a variety of craft vendors with many homemade crafts available. There will also be food vendors at the festival serving a multitude of food including the popular chicken and noodles. There will also be kettle corn, brats, hot dogs, funnel cakes, and waffles.
Besides vendors, there will also be some competitions and contests available. At 2 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a spelling bee. There is a children’s art contest that will be available for viewing. The Covington Elementary School and the J.R. Clarke Public Library help with getting the art submissions and the art pieces are judged and winners are selected prior to the festival, according to Miller. The winners will have ribbons next to their pieces.
Throughout the event, there will be a photo contest where any individual can take a picture at the festival and submit it. The votes are tallied on Sunday and winners will be announced then.
For those who enjoy baking, there is a pie-baking and cookie-baking contest. Submissions are due by noon on Saturday and will be judged. Then, those items are auctioned off on the encampment side at 2 p.m. All proceeds from the auction go towards the festival operation, said Miller.
Throughout the event, there will be a variety of music performers performing at the main stage on the park side.
The encampment side will also be hosting a variety of activities, such as a knife competition, for encampment members to participate in, but the public is able to watch. Those will be going on throughout the event.
Currently, there are 80-100 camps registered to be at the festival. Pre-registered camps submit an application. The encampment side is open to campers to come and set up for a $35 fee for the weekend with an additional $5 fee per person over the age of 18 staying at the campsite. The camp must be pre-1800 to be considered and at least one person must be 18 or older.
“We really do appreciate all of the support the community gives us,” said Miller.
The Fort Rowdy Gathering is currently selling tickets for a meat raffle which includes a $500 gift certificate to Sunset Meats.
For more information on the festival or to purchase a ticket, please reach out through their Facebook page (Fort Rowdy Gathering).