Downtown Covington merchants are busy decorating their windows with warm fall colors and selecting items to mark down for this weekend's annual Harvest Weekend.
Josephine Kelley, director of Main Street Covington, has worked busily to prepare for this year's affair on Oct. 5 and 6 on the Covington Square.
"In different way it's probably been going on under different names and different forms since the inception of the Main Street program," Kelley said.
The weekend will feature a number of different events including the Parade of Squarecrows and Mutt Show.
Kelley said about 20 organizations have signed up to participate in the Squarecrow judging this year.
"There are all sorts of different themes and participation from the schools and art gallery and various merchants," Kelley said.
Members of the Main Street Covington design committee will judge entries as well as anyone who picks up a ballot from the businesses around the square to vote for the People's Choice Scarecrow.
Kelley asked those interested in entering a Squarecrow to call the Main Street Covington office.
"You can still sign up that day though - that's the nice thing," Kelley said. "We don't turn anybody down."
Squarecrows will be placed around the square on Friday afternoon.
At 9:30 Saturday registration begins for the Newton County Humane Society's Annual Mutt Show. Judging in categories such as most beautiful, most handsome, look-a-like and best kisser will begin at 10 a.m.
"This has been a great tradition and we're so appreciative of the efforts of the Newton County Humane Society," Kelley said. Kelley said all dogs are welcome, but must be leashed.
Approximately 300 patrons of Harvest Weekend will receive a free reusable downtown Covington shopping tote in which to place the items bought at the sidewalk sales lining the square. The totes will have the phrase "Think local, buy local, be local" emblazoned on them along with the Downtown Covington logo.
"We're really encouraging people to shop locally," Kelley said. "We've just had SPLOST pass again, so we need our sales-tax dollars to really come in so they can be put to good use."
SPLOST, Special Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax, funds various county projects such as the construction of new schools.
Kelley also said her organization wants to promote using reusable shopping bags rather than ones which end up in the landfill.
After the Mutt Show, the Church Street Antique Market's Appraisal Fair will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 3 p.m. Kelley said several tents will be set up on the square as appraisal stations.
"If anyone is interested in having something appraised, then they can bring it to one of the tents and see what their collectible is worth," Kelley said.
The event will also feature an antique tractor show co-sponsored by the Georgia Farm Bureau and the University of Georgia Newton County Extension Office.
"There's quite a following of people who collect or have antique tractors," Kelley said.
Finally, as part of the weekend's festivities Main Street Covington, Friends of Gaithers and the Chamber of Commerce's Tourism Division will sell 12-inch pots of lush, yellow chrysanthemums.
Funds raised in the flower sale will help the Friends of Gaithers maintain the flower beds and develop interpretive signage at Gaither Plantation.
Pots cost $21.50 and can be picked up on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Newton County Chamber of Commerce on Clark Street.
Kelley said she hopes this year's Harvest Weekend is the biggest and best yet.
"We're looking forward a much anticipated event," Kelley said, "and also the beginning of the whole fall and holiday season for downtown."
To place a chrysanthemum order e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of pots wanted. To register a Squarecrow or for more information about this weekend's activities, call the Main Street Covington Office at (770) 385-8481.