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Front porch party in Covington
Gnomadic Rhythm & Rides Fest draws thousands; car show raises $28K for child’s cancer fight
Whitaker -
A small crowd gathers to hear musician Frank Whitaker perform from the porch of a Floyd Street home in Covington as part of the Gnomadic Rhythm & Rides Fest on Saturday, May 14, 2022. (Special to The News)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Thousands poured into downtown Covington on Saturday for the inaugural Gnomadic Rhythm & Rides Fest that included rotating front porch musical performances and a benefit car show.

Downtown Coordinator Laura Sullivan said the event was one that took the entire community to pull off and was quite pleased with how it turned out.

“This was a true community effort,” she said. “And it’s really cool because I’m just the logistics person who just makes sure public safety measures are in place for the event. The car show people do their thing and our music people do their thing, and really it makes my job easy.”

An aspect of the festival that was foreign to Covington was the musical addition. Various musicians performed on the front porches of various homes along Floyd Street, and then a final performance outside RL's Off the Square. Sullivan said the inspiration came from an event called “Porchfest” in Oakhurst and was introduced by local resident Randy Brogdon.

“Around the same time Kale Waddleton [of Kaleb’s Cause] came to us with the car show,” Sullivan said, “he [Brogdon] came to us saying he wanted to put together this ‘porch fest’ music fest, and we thought it would be a really fun day if we kind of tied the two together for just a day full of music, cars and so much fun.”

Musician Frank Whitaker kicked off the live performances at 11:30 a.m., followed by bands Crest and the Motels, The Bad Neighbors and finally Tedo Stone around 2:30 p.m.

“Power at the Tower,” a car show present by Kaleb’s Cause, raised more than $28,000 for a child named Brayden, who is fighting a form of kidney cancer called neuroblastoma.

“A huge thanks to everyone involved,” car show organizer Kale Waddleton wrote on social media. “It literally takes an army. We have one hell of a car show family around here and it shows.”

Waddleton and his wife, Marissa, organized nonprofit Kaleb’s Cause a few years ago. Since its inception, Kaleb’s Cause has successfully raised thousands of dollars for local families needing financial help by hosting car shows.

In addition to the car show, several vendors were stationed around the Square that featured arts, crafts, clothing and apparel, among other products. Newton County Schools also had a booth set up giving away books to children thanks to a grant program.

Covington-based vendor Robin Williams, who is owner and creator of La Reine Belle, said she enjoyed the festival and called it another great “unifying event” for the community.

“It’s just really great to see so many people out walking around, having a great time with each other,” she said.

Sullivan said she hopes the city can build on the success of the year’s festival and see it expand in the future.

“We think this is something that could grow into a signature Covington event,” she said.