COVINGTON, Ga. - With thousands of guests descending on the City of Covington for the annual Stars and Stripes Fest presented by the City of Covington and JACO Contracting, Covington officials are releasing important information for anyone planning on enjoying one of the south’s best fireworks displays.
When does the event start and what activities are planned?
Featuring a full slate of entertainment, shopping and activities, the event officially kicks off at 3 p.m. on July 4. DJ ‘Kid Tree’ will provide tunes and at 5 p.m. Latin Jazz band Canelita Sabrosa will take the stage. At 6 p.m., the Newton County Community Band & Mass Community Choir will perform crowd favorites and at 7 p.m. local band The Maloy Brothers Bluegrass Band performs. The headlining band Funk Factory 5 is set to perform everything from R&B to Motown to Pop and everything in between at 8 p.m.
In addition to the one-of-a-kind retail stores surrounding the Covington square, a full card of vendors will also be on-site offering everything from clothes to glow items. The vendor midway is located at the intersection of Clark and Pace Streets. Food vendors will also be available to offer even more dining choices than already exist around the Square. Food vendors are located at the intersection of Washington and Church Streets.
Inflatable bounce houses, a video game truck, appearances from your favorite Disney & Marvel characters and countless more activities will be available throughout the day.
Where can I park? What about ADA Compliant parking?
Parking is available in any public parking lot, the parking deck off Elm Street and on-street parking where typically allowed. Parking in public lots is left to the discretion of the owners of those lots. ADA compliant parking is available in the BB&T Bank parking lot on Clark Street. Golf carts will not be allowed on the Square after 4 p.m.
Golf cart shuttles provided by JACO Contracting and Fat Boys Golf Carts will be patrolling the north and south side of the square ready to assist event-goers as well.
What if I have an issue once I am at the event?
Countless Covington police, firefighters and employees will be visible for the duration of the event. Help areas will be located on each corner of the Square and a command post will be located indoors at the corner of Clark and Washington Streets.
Just how big is the fireworks show?
According to Friends of Covington Fireworks, LLC Chairman Robert Foxworth, the “show is going to be the biggest display Covington has ever seen. We have added a fourth shooting location and six-inch shells will accompany the three, four and five-inch shell the crowd typically sees. The total cost of this show is $50,000.”
What about traffic leaving the event?
For the 2017 edition of Stars and Stripes Fest, city officials implemented "Operation Red, White and Go!," a traffic masterplan designed to alleviate vehicular congestion for those leaving the event.
“Last year, the Operation Red, White and Go! traffic plan did exactly what it was intended to do and helped ease traffic congestion,” City Manager Leigh Anne Knight said. “Like everything we do, we discussed the successes and possible points of improvement of the plan and made some minor changes for this year’s version. We are confident everyone attending will see an improvement in post-event traffic flow this year and that is the goal. To get improve every year.”
Featuring traffic alterations for the majority of the city, Operation Red, White and Go! is designed to make traffic egress as expeditious as possible and lane closures will begin to go into effect at 8:15 p.m. on July 4. Everyone is encouraged to be in place before the traffic plan goes into effect. Spectators should note that how they traveled to their destination may be different from the route they are directed to for their travel back home. Below are highlights from the plan, which can be viewed in its entirety at www.cityofcovington.org.
Access Road @ Turner Lake Road
Traffic will not be allowed to travel east on Highway 278 from this intersection. All traffic will have to turn onto I-20 West or turn south on Turner Lake Road or continue west on the access road. Traffic heading west upon entering this intersection may turn in any direction.
West Street @ Highway 278
Traffic will not be allowed to travel east on Highway 278 from this intersection. All traffic will travel west towards I-20.
Emory Street @ Highway 278
Traffic traveling west on Highway 278 will be allowed to turn onto Emory Street, north bound. Traffic traveling south on Emory Street will be directed west on Highway 278.
If exiting from Newton Plaza (with the exception of the far-east entrance/exit), vehicles will travel westbound only. If exiting the far-east entrance/exit (near Dunkin’ Donuts) traffic will be directed east on Highway 278 then north on Alcovy Rd. The center turn lane will also be a westbound lane, creating three lanes of travel on Highway 278.
Pace Street @ Highway 278
All traffic traveling north from the Square and surrounding area will turn west on Highway 278. No traffic will travel east on Highway 278. All five traffic lanes will travel west towards I-20.
Elm Street @ Highway 278
Motorists traveling westbound on Highway 278 prior to the Elm Street intersection must turn north onto Elm Street / Alcovy Road. Northbound traffic on Elm Street prior to the Highway 278 intersection must turn eastbound on Highway 278. Traffic will not be allowed to turn back towards the Covington Square.
Mill Street @ Highway 278
Traffic will not be allowed to travel south on Mill Street.
Floyd Street @ Highway 278
Traffic will not be allowed to travel west on Floyd Street. All traffic traveling east upon entering Highway 278 must travel east towards the Highway 142 bypass.
Highway 278 and Highway 142 Intersection
Motorists traveling westbound on Highway 278 will not be allowed to travel past the Highway 142 intersection and must turn north on Highway 142. Those traveling south on Highway 142 will not be able to turn westbound on Highway 278 and those traveling north on Highway 142 must continue traveling north or turn east on Highway 278.
All traffic will travel north on Alcovy Road. Traffic will not be permitted to travel south on Alcovy Road past the I-20 eastbound ramp.
Washington StreetTraffic will not be permitted to travel north on Washington Street past Flat Shoals Road. All traffic will flow south on Washington Street.