COVINGTON — Covington’s annual Fort Rowdy Gathering will return this Labor Day weekend — Saturday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 2 — bringing with it a mix of modern festivities with a side of the Ohio Frontier to Covington Community Park.
Annie the Highway Cow will be stopping by the Fort Rowdy Gathering, along with another popular attraction the Fort Rowdy Gathering Board is excited about.
“We’re bringing back the hay maze,” Anita Hawk, of the Fort Rowdy Gathering Board, said. “We haven’t had it for several years.”
Other contests were also added this year, including the Spelling and History Bees that will be held on Saturday, Aug. 31, at 2 p.m. Sign-ups for the Spelling and History Bees are at the Main Stage at 1:45 p.m. that same day. Most questions for the History Bee will be about the 1800’s through the Great Depression. Winners will also receive a 2019 Fort Rowdy medallion.
While both sides of the Fort Rowdy Gathering offer live music, vendors, food, and other activities, the Encampment provides the added twist of Frontier fun to the festivities. While more modern vendors will be found in the main area of the Covington Community Park, visitors who go over the Friendship Bridge to the Encampment will find a blacksmith, handspun yarns, weavers, wooden wagons, camp wares, blanket traders, and more.
Visitors should come hungry to the Fort Rowdy Gathering. The local churches and civic organizations — including St. John’s Lutheran Church, American Kodokwan Institute, Susie’s Big Dipper, Boy Scout Troop 76, and Covington Christian Church — will be offering a variety of treats, snacks, and meals to visitors. Foods available include cabbage rolls, mashed potatoes, Texas tenderloins, chips, ice cream, apple dumplings, root beer floats, sugar waffles, hot dogs, and more.
Opening ceremonies for the 2019 Fort Rowdy Gathering will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, on the main stage in the Covington Community Park. Amazing Grace will be played on the bagpipes by Kim Trytten and Sean Schultzy. Following the Flag raising, the Covington Marching Band will play the National Anthem. The festival committee would like to welcome all state and local dignitaries, the 2019 grand marshals, area Vietnam Era Veterans, and the public to the 27th Gathering.
The Covington Kiwanis Club will be sponsoring a Children’s Activity tent again this year. Additional activities for children include tin punching, beading, and coloring. The Kiwanis tent activities are free for children 10 and under. The Children’s Activity tent hours are from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, and Sunday, Sept. 1, and then 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 2.
Attendees can also come and get caught up in the excitement of an outdoor auction at the festival’s annual Fort Rowdy Gathering Auction, which will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, on the Encampment Stage. There will be a variety of items up for auction, including handmade items from the encampment and vendors, items for young and old. Join auctioneer Joe Sampson as he presents an interesting and lively event.
Parking for the Fort Rowdy Gathering will be at a Covington High School parking lot. Please follow the signs to the correct lot. Shuttles will run every 30 minutes between the school and the Fort Rowdy Gathering. Shuttle schedule is:
• Saturday, Aug. 31, 9:30 a.m. through 8:30 p.m.
• Sunday, Sept. 1, 9:30 a.m. through 8 p.m.
• Monday, Sept. 2, 9:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.
Fort Rowdy is handicap-accessible. The Friendship Bridge will accommodate wheelchairs. There is limited handicap parking in the Covington Community Park.