Fort Rowdy Gathering to offer frontier fun


By Sheryl Roadcap

[email protected]

COVINGTON — The 31st annual Fort Rowdy Gathering will return to the Covington Community Park Saturday, Sept. 2, through Monday, Sept. 4, for Labor Day weekend.

On Saturday and Sunday, the gathering will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m; and on Monday, the festival will go from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“The aim of the gathering is to bring the history of Fort Rowdy to the community. A lot of people were not even aware there was a Fort Rowdy in Covington,” said Fort Rowdy Treasure/Board member Annette Miller. “Fort Rowdy was a trading post on the Stillwater River for those on the way to Greenville” (during pioneer-life in the late 1700s/early 1800s).

The gathering, first held on Oct. 2 and 3 in 1993, takes place in Covington Community Park each year. The date of the event was changed several years ago from the first weekend in October to Labor Day weekend. This annual weekend offers a firsthand look at pioneer life pre-dating the civil war, and commemorating the founding of Fort Rowdy as a supply fort for General “Mad” Anthony Wayne and his forces in the 1790s.

The gathering is separated into two sides, the park side and the encampment side. They are separated by the Stillwater River, and are connected by a 208-foot footbridge that was constructed last weekend, Miller said. It is erected prior to the festival and removed at the end of the event. Attendees will travel across the suspended bridge and will find an encampment full of historical re-enactments and campers dressed in full period dress, giving demonstrations about life on the frontier.

The festival will have a variety of craft and food vendors, offering many homemade items and serving a multitude of food options, including Covington Christian Church serving its signature chicken and noodles, along with other favorites such as kettle corn, brats, hot dogs, funnel cakes, waffles, and more.

Events to look forward to during annual Fort Rowdy Gathering includes several music acts performing at the main stage on the park side. a photo, pie and cookie baking contest, a spelling bee for third-graders up to adults, an auction that includes the pies, and several pioneer-life contests for campers to engage in, which the public may observe. Among items to be auctioned off, of which the funds goes toward the next year’s festival, are a cooler and a kayak. Raffle tickets are $1 for 1 or 6 for $5.

“We realistically expect between 2,000 to 3,000 people to attend during this weekend,” Miller said. “One change this year is that there will not be shuttle service offered … there will not be an art competition for Covington students this year. With the way the school year started, it just didn’t work out this year.”

Miller said as of Friday morning they had between 80-85 camps already set up, but people who wish to be part of the encampment, may still register to camp. Campers must be dressed and set up in pre-1800 clothes and gear and be set up by 10 a.m. on Saturday morning. Also, one person must be 18 or older.

For more information on the festival or to purchase a ticket, please visit the gathering’s Facebook page at

No posts to display