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Posted: October 9, 2012 7:19 p.m.

Festival of Trees returns, donations needed

Covington's Festival of Trees is back, and residents will once again be able to bid on a variety of pre-decorated Christmas trees courtesy of area nonprofits and businesses.

There will also be lots of other Christmas decorations as well as gift baskets and certificates available through a raffle; all proceeds will go to the Miracle League in Newton County, which is currently constructing a special needs baseball complex at City Pond Road. The trees and decorations will be at the former Mayfield's Hardware location on the square.

Around 20 trees have already been promised, but the festival's organizers are still looking for donations of trees, wreaths, other decorations, gift baskets, gift certificates and money. The deadline to donate is Nov. 1.

The inaugural event in 2010 had about 10 trees and raised $2,500, which was donated to the Friends of Chimney Park. A different organization will get the proceeds every year, said organizer Lisa Conner.

"We're so exited. And going forward, we are going to give this to the (newly-formed) Optimist Club. That way, it will be sponsored by a local organization, not just a couple women going around the square," said Conner laughing.

Once all of the donated decorations are collected, there will be a series of opportunities for people to bid on trees, buy raffle tickets and enjoy other holiday activities, including face painting, cookies, hot chocolate and cider.

The dates to view and bid items are:
•Nov. 15 and 16, 5-8 p.m.
•Nov. 17, 1-6 p.m.
•Nov. 23, 5-8 p.m.
•Nov. 24, 1-6 p.m.
•Nov. 29 and 30, 5-8 p.m.
•Dec. 1, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
The winners will be announced at 2 p.m. Dec. 1. For more information about the event or to donate, contact Conner by email at festivaloftrees.newton@gmail.com or by phone at (678) 459-7752. Applications to donate trees can be downloaded at facebook.com/festivaloftreesnewtoncounty or can be picked up at the Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce.

The idea for the festival came from Saba Tanner, an administrative assistant at First Baptist Church, who brought the idea with her from Cartersville, which has a large annual festival of trees.

For more information about the Optimist Club, contact President Anita Still at anitastill@bellsouth.net. The club was chartered Sept. 27, 2012. Optimist International is a service organization that focuses on "Bringing Out the Best in Kids" through community projects and by promoting upbeat attitudes.

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