Reuben L. Partridge, known as "The Bridge Builder of Union County," likely would be amazed over the party that will be held on his Pottersburg bridge some 144 years after it was erected in 1868.

Reuben L. Partridge, known as "The Bridge Builder of Union County," likely would be amazed over the party that will be held on his Pottersburg bridge some 144 years after it was erected in 1868.

He probably would have been more amazed that his bridge on North Lewisburg Road could be moved across the county to a multipurpose trail that begins in the village of North Lewisburg and ends on the Union-Champaign county line, near Inskeep-Cratty Road.

This week, Tina Knotts of the Union County Chamber of Commerce announced a new venue and expanded hours for the county's annual Covered Bridge Fest, to be held Sept. 21-23.

"The Pottersburg bridge will be the featured bridge hosting this year's event," Knotts said. "A festival on the bridge is the perfect way to celebrate our covered-bridge heritage."

The Covered Bridge Fest committee has been meeting since late January, said committee member Mardy Hanlon-Stolte.

"We didn't go into our first meeting with the idea that we would radically change the festival, but as we brainstormed, it became clear we were going to try some new things," she said.

Those new things include a sunset dinner on the bridge one night and a wine tasting on another night. Additional activities, such as a juried arts and craft show, bluegrass music and old-fashioned children's games, will be within view of the Pottersburg bridge.

"In past years we've had activities in Uptown (Marys-ville) on Court Street and in Milford Center, Plain City and North Lewisburg," Hanlon-Stolte said. "We think holding the activities at the bridge will lend authenticity to the fest."

Committee member Joyce Garrard said the Pottersburg bridge is one of her favorites of the four historic covered bridges in Union County.

"It's got such a nice atmosphere -- so quiet and remote," she said. "Every time I go out there, it takes me back in time, makes me think about what life must have been like in 1868, what it would have been like to ride in a horse-drawn buggy over a covered bridge. Our bridges really do talk to you."

Union County has seven covered bridges, four of them historic and three of more recent vintage, as well as the historic Streng Road truss bridge.

Recent covered-bridge festivals have been one-day events. The committee was determined, however, to encourage residents and tourists to enjoy Union County's hospitality over the course of three days.

When the festival was expanded, the committee quickly came up with the idea to hold church services Sunday morning at both the Pottersburg bridge and the new Thompson Road covered bridge, built by the Union County engineer's office in 2010.

Bus tours of the seven covered bridges and the Streng Road truss bridge -- a staple of past festivals -- again will be featured this year.

"We'll run a shuttle from the historical society to all the covered bridges and back and forth from the Pottersburg bridge," Knotts said.

Juried artists wanting to display or sell their wares (both modern and heritage) are encouraged to request a vendor application. The chamber also is soliciting sponsors and volunteers.

For information, call the chamber at 937-642-6279 or email tknotts@unioncounty.org.