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Parades and county's birthday kickoff among Newton events this month
Lions Christmas Parade
The Covington Lions Club Christmas Parade will look different this weekend compared to previous years when more than 100 entries were typically featured. - photo by Special Photo

COVINGTON, Ga. — Two parades and the kickoff to a yearlong celebration of a 200th birthday are on tap this weekend and in coming weeks in Newton County.

Some public events scheduled Saturday through this month in Newton County include:

LIONS CLUB ‘REVERSE’ PARADE: Just as 2020 has been a different kind of year, the Covington Lions Club’s annual Christmas parade scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5, will differ greatly from previous years’ events.

Instead of a morning parade featuring around 100 entries, this year’s event will be a nighttime event and feature about 35 entries, such as high school bands and floats. 

And instead of a parade that passes by audience members, organizers are inviting them to stay in their vehicles and drive by a parade that stands still.

The event along Newton Drive is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m., said organizer and club member Missy Braden.

The Lions Club has hosted the parade since 2005 but set it up differently this year in response to safety concerns around the COVID-19 pandemic, Braden said. 

All three county high school marching bands will join floats, performing groups, Jeep enthusiasts, Santa Claus and more, Braden said.

Organizers are asking those groups building floats to light them up in some way. The audience will only see the floats’ right sides.

Parade participants will set up on a quarter-mile stretch of Newton Drive between Mill Street and Anderson Avenue — along the side adjacent to the YMCA and Legion Field.

Those interested in seeing it from their vehicles will be directed to drive west on Newton Drive, Braden said.

YEARLONG BIRTHDAY PARTY BEGINS: The public is invited to kick off a year of celebration of Newton County’s 200th birthday in front of the Historic Courthouse on the Covington Square Saturday, Dec. 5, from 1 to 4 p.m.

The Historic Courthouse will be the location for the Newton County parade float, giveaways marking 200 years of Newton County, unveiling of the special county flag honoring the occasion, and information on how to participate in the upcoming festivities. 

On Dec. 24, 1821, the Georgia Legislature created Newton County out of Henry, Jasper and Walton counties. 

For more information on Newton County’s 200th birthday visit https://www.co.newton.ga.us/504/Newton-County-200.

PORTERDALE’S NEIGHBORHOOD PARADE: Rather than city residents traveling from their homes to see this year’s Porterdale Christmas Parade, organizers are planning an event that brings the event directly to the residents.

The annual parade is set for Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. 

Instead of the regular route along Main Street, parade participants will move through city neighborhoods “where residents can safely view the parade from their front porches,” according to the city website. 

It is set to step off at the Old Mill parking lot and work its way along parts of Ivy, Hemlock, Main, Poplar, Elm and Crowell roads and Austin Terrace before returning to its starting place, according to a parade route the city provided.

Only lighted floats and entries on wheels will be featured. Cars, trucks, golf carts and ATV units can participate but entries featuring participants on foot are not planned, said Downtown Development Director Josephine Kelly.

Parade applications are due Dec. 9 and can be obtained by emailing info@cityofporterdale.com

For more information, visit cityofporterdale.com or call 770-786-2217, ext. 3250.

• ‘CHRISTMAS FOR KIDS’: Abiding Grace Lutheran Church will host “Christmas for Kids” Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon at the church at 5500 Hwy. 212 in Covington.

“Join us to celebrate the greatest gift ever given in Jesus. Christmas for Kids is a great event of music, crafts, games, the Christmas story, food, fun and so much more for your kids.”  

The event is free but space is limited so organizers ask that participants register at c4k.abidinggrace.com or by calling 770-385-7691.

‘TUBA CHRISTMAS’: The tradition of “Tuba Christmas” in Porterdale will continue this year “thanks to creative plans for social distancing for both performers and the audience,” according to city officials.

The annual Tuba Christmas performance is scheduled for Dec. 13 at 3 p.m. Tuba players can register beginning at 1 p.m. in front of the Porterdale Memorial Gymnasium facility. Rehearsal will take place from 2 to 3 p.m. “then the merriment and fun will start,” according to organizers. 

Alan Fowler, director of Eastside Pride and the Newton Community Band, will lead the festivities, organizers said. 

The public is asked to bring their folding chairs and masks. For more information, visit cityofporterdale.com or call 770-786-2217, ext. 3250.

Porterdale Parade Route
Pictured is a map of the Porterdale Christmas Parade route slated for Dec. 12 at 7 p.m.