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Going green has never been more fun
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Members of Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful are busily preparing for their second Green Getaway - a fundraiser to support the organization's educational programs and beautification projects - on Nov. 2 at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center.

The event will feature entertainment by the John Roquemore Band and local storyteller Andy Irwin, silent and live auctions and dinner catered by Plain Nuts.

"Our first Green Getaway in 2007 was a huge success, thanks to the participation of the community," said Connie Waller, KCNB director. "We made $20,000, which is presently being used for community projects, such as the new puppet show that's in the works, as well as a new entrance site scheduled for exit 90 at I-20 and Highway 278."

This year's goal is again $20,000, which will largely fund educational programs such as the Seymore Green puppet show, which delivers important messages to children in elementary school about litter and pollution prevention and the importance of recycling and conservation.

 Other educational programs such as "enviroscape" presentations for all grade levels - a table top model demonstrating how storm water carries pollution - as well as two hour "learning lab" excursions to the recycling center at the Newton County Landfill will benefit from the event.
"This year, with Andy Irwin as our entertainment and Dr. Dale Evans as auctioneer, well, I can only imagine the spontaneity of this combo," Waller said. "It'll be great."

A silent auction begins with the pre-party at 6 p.m., but a live auction begins at 7 p.m. with the dinner.

Fundraiser committee member Treasa Waters said auction items include large themed baskets filled with goodies, fishing excursions, Hoyt Oliver's hand-made furniture and hand-painted furniture donated by the Southern Heartland Art Gallery.

Irene Smith, local cookbook author, has donated her services as chef of a quail brunch for six.

"Her donations are always fun," Waters said.

KCNB board member Leslie Lathem, a local veterinarian, has contributed a doggie birthday party for one four-legged friend and seven of their friends - complete with treats and toys.

Santa Claus also has donated his time for an appearance at a holiday gathering.

Waller will again provide a "Sunset Soiree." Last year Waters was the highest bidder for the candlelit dinner gathering at Waller's brother's lake house on Lake Jackson.

"I think I was expecting something more like barbecue rather than a steak or fish dinner," Waters said. "You would have thought it was professionally done it was so nice."

Irwin, formerly Oxford College's artist in residence, is taking time out from city hopping on his national storytelling circuit to provide the night's entertainment. He is performing in Atlanta the night before and then leaves for Portland, Ore., afterward.

"I will be telling stories about my childhood - that may be true or not - with an environmental touch to it," Irwin said. "Truth be told, I often don't know what I'm doing until I step on stage."

He said he will perform audience favorites such as his song "Crickets in the Kudzu" as well as highlight favorite characters.

"Marguerite will be there, although she's not much of an environmentalist," Irwin joked.

Marguerite is a character compilation of all the older, Southern women Irwin grew up with in Newton County.

He will sell copies of his newest album "Bootsie in Season" and all proceeds will go toward KCNB projects. He said he has known Waller for a long time and is performing as a favor to her as well as a service to the community.

"With my job now I could live anywhere," Irwin said, "but I don't want to live anywhere - I want to live here."

This year, Plain Nuts will again cater the event.

"Last year's concept of A Southern Picnic Basket, complete with fried chicken and all the 'fixin's,' was so popular that we're doing it again this year with a few new twists," Waller said.

Tickets are available for $50 through KCNB.

"The Green Getaway is not only financially imperative to the educational and beautification programs for Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful," Waller said, "it's also so much fun."