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Back 2 School Block Party set for Saturday
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While the temperature outside may not indicate it, summer is winding down for the children of Newton County. To help get back into the swing of things, downtown Covington will be full of excitement on Saturday as the annual Back 2 School Block Party hits the square beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The square will be closed at 4:30 p.m. and volunteers will turn the small patch of historic real estate into a maze of tables, inflatable toys and obstacle courses. After the area is ready, children and parents can peruse the lawn, visiting the many displays while enjoying a fun-filled, family atmosphere.

"I think we are all in a sense of denial that everyone is going back to school," said Main Street Covington director Josephine Kelly. "We heard a lot of people talking about going back to school and sometimes it didn't sound too positive, so this provides a means to get back into things."

The block party is a way for the community to come together one last time before children head back to the classrooms beginning Aug. 1.

"We did an open call and publicized the event and any organization that promotes the health, welfare and well-being for children is welcome to help," Kelly said. "We went about finding organizations in the community that offer after-school activities and after-school education programs that will get parents and students involved in the community."

So far, more than 20 local businesses and organizations have teamed up with Main Street Covington and the Washington Street Community Center to put on the event. Many of the partners will have activities for children to enjoy while their parents talk to representatives.

All organizations will be distributing information. Some, like the Performing Arts Center for Education and the Arts Association in Newton County will be on hand to provide information on dance and performing arts in the community while others like Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful and City of Covington D.A.R.E. Fire Program will be there to educate on environmental awareness and safety.

The Washington Street Community Center has been actively accepting school supply donations and plans to distribute 500 filled book bags to elementary students who participate. The bags are for all K-5 students and will be handed out on a first-come-first-serve basis. Parents are asked to register as soon as possible when they arrive and the children will be given color-coded bracelets based on their grade level.

If the weather over past few days is any indication, expect it to be hot this weekend. Not to worry. There will be plenty of refreshments available. Several of the partners will be offering free goodies including Gatorade, watermelon and bottled water.

Kelly says the faith-based community has been instrumental in the planning and support of the event. Springfield Baptist Church and The Church at Covington will represent their communities. In addition, four dance ministry groups from Springfield Baptist will perform on the brick area by the flag pole.

"It has been very easy to find partners to stage this event and we are grateful for everyone who has come forward to help," Kelly said. "The faith-based community has been a tremendous help."

The event would not be possible without the help from the community. And while the partners give away refreshments and have activities for the entire family to enjoy, Kelly said the community will ultimately give back.

"It creates a great opportunity for exposure and gives them a public place to share what their organization is all about. It also acts as a door-opener for the faith base community and gives people an opportunity to maybe find a connection with a group while in a laid-back setting."

Please read Friday's edition of the News for a detailed list of activities and a finalized schedule of events for the Back 2 School Block Party. If you would still like to participate as a partner, contact Josephine Kelly at (770) 843-2657.