Being the “Hollywood of the South” means you can be in more than one place at a time when you are in fact in Covington. Stop in front of the Welcome Center on Clark Street and you will be welcomed to Mystic Falls, Virginia as well as Sparta, Mississippi from the “Heat of the Night.” Before this past Christmas you could have stopped by the filming of Dolly Parton’s “Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love” and been in Sevierville, Tennessee. Monticello Street has been set in Selma, Alabama and the Court House in Hazard County, Kentucky.
Our community is a Georgia Camera ready community. You can be a lot of places and hardly move at all. Take a walk around the Square and you will see why we are the “Hollywood of the South.” Look at the stars on the sidewalk. They will feature movies made in Covington as well as those actors who starred in them. You will find the star for the first movie shot in Covington, “A Man Called Peter” at the corner of Hendrick Street and Clark Street.
The longest running TV series that was filmed in Covington was “The Vampire Dairies.” The last shoot was about a month ago. You will find stars for that series along Clark Street. For the last eight years, people have come from all over the world to see “Mystic Falls, Virginia.” This eighth season will be the final one for the show. For eight years we have been not only Covington but Mystic Falls, Virginia as well.
They have come to see where some of the scenes of the show were produced.
To mark the end of the series there will be a celebration on the Square on Friday, March 10. It is being called “Founders Day” reflecting a part of the final episode. If you are coming to the Square you should plan on bringing you own seat. The series finale will be shown at 8 p.m. This will be followed by a Mercy Mode Concert at right after 9 p.m. Featured will be Micah Parker, who played Adrian, on the Vampire Diaries and Chase Colman, who plays Oliver on the Originals. The Originals is a “spin off” that came out of the Diaries and will continue to be produced.
There are several things that will remain in Covington after the series comes to an end. One is the Vampire Stalkers tour group. They are located on the Square at the corner of Clark and Monticello Streets. Here you can join a tour and see various houses that were featured in the show as well as other locations that were transformed to be a part of Mystic Falls. You will also find souvenirs related to the show.
Another touch of Mystic Falls that will remain is the Mystic Grill located on the Square. It has been rated one of the top ten restaurants in Georgia. The exterior was featured on the show when it was still, in fact, a law office. When it became a restaurant, ideas were taken from how it was shown on the show. When tourist come to see “Mystic Falls, Virginia,” The Grill is a must stop.
When there is a “crew” in town shooting a movie or show, it may not always be convenient. You may have to detour a block or two, but that is a part of the price of being the “Hollywood of the South.” We not only get good exposure to the “world” but it means money being spent in our local economy.
There will more movies and TV shows made in our community. I am told three “pilots” for new shows are looking at our area now. Another big step is coming soon. Projected to be finished by the end of the year is Three Ring Studios, a $100 million massive facility that will produce movies, TV shows, and videos.
As we celebrate the last episode of “The Vampire Diaries,” we know is it just one more “turn in the road” for Covington to be that very special place it is. You can be several places at a time. “Moving Covington-style” doesn’t require us to do in packing but to merely enjoy the “show.”
B. Wiley Stephens is a retired United Methodist Minister and author who now resides in Covington.