The coronavirus pandemic that canceled the Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival didn't cancel interest in the bridges .

People from near and far still showed up at area bridges on Saturday.

Only nominal reminders of the two-day event were visible throughout the county.

Ashtabula County Covered Bridge Festival Executive Director Ginger Whitehead said the organization was not able to sponsor the festival but has been selling merchandise at a tent at the Smolen-Gulf Bridge the last several weekends.

Whitehead said merchandise was selling well as groups of people from all over the United States stopped by to see the bridge.

"We have been talking to people from Texas, North Carolina and all of the surrounding states," she said.

What the festival will look like next year is unclear due to the pandemic but a meeting is scheduled for next weekend to begin planning. Whitehead said the festival board of directors is seeking new members.

"We are very much looking for more younger people on the board," she said.

One of the remnants from the festival will be the bean-soup option featured every year at the festival that will be held today at the Jefferson Fire Department through the Rotary Club, Whitehead said.

Debbie Friedstrom sold crafts and pumpkins close to the bridge on Saturday morning.

"Everyone is still coming to see the bridge," she said.

Rob and Mary Seeterlin, of Waterford, Mich., stopped for gas without knowing anything about the festival or the bridges.

"We just had to stop for gas and saw the sign," Rob Seeterlin said. 

The couple were on their way to Vermont but couldn't resist a stop at the bridge and even bought some crafts.

Jay and Terrie Miller, and their dog Kimber, all of Jefferson, stopped at the bridge to continue an on-going tradition.

"Every year, no matter what," Jay Miller said of their venturing out to area bridges.

He said the colorful leaves and the wonderful weather are the drawing card to get outside and enjoy area covered bridges.

Ted Peacock, also of Michigan, and friends pulled into the bridge parking lot unaware of the festival tradition but very aware of the covered bridges.

"We have been trying to do this for the last couple of years," he said of the eight people on the trip.

He said four of the participants are from Michigan and four from the Toledo area and one of the riders had been through the area and suggested the trip to his friends.

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