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Nutcrackers invade Chimney Park
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"Twilights at Chimney Park" returns for its fourth consecutive year on Sunday, Dec. 4, in the family-friendly park located behind the Newton County Library, 7116 Floyd St. Hours are 5-7:30 p.m., and admission is $3 per person or $5 per family.

Eight-foot tall Nutcrackers, modeled on the toy nutcracker that plays a central role in "The Nutcracker" ballet, will greet guests entering the park. They were handmade by volunteers under the direction of Southern Heartland Art Guild member Ann Wildmon over the summer. Another new element will be a lighted herd of deer in the forest.

Familiar features will be storytelling by Newton County Library Children's Librarian Carol Durusau, caroling and school choruses, an appearance by the Oxford Youth Singers, s'mores provided by the Covington Lions Club around the bonfire tended by Covington Eagle Scouts, hot chocolate provided by the Eastside High School Junior Service Guild and a recycled Christmas tree contest among school art classes. Eastside High School's Junior Service Guild will provide hot cider, and the Heartland Woman's Club will sell Christmas greenery. The Oxford Lions' Club will pop hot popcorn, and the Covington Rotary Club is donating hot dogs with the fixings. Look for an enchanting Gnome Home, a bedazzled Fairy Tunnel, sparkling bottle trees, a Candy Cane Lane, Santa's Sleigh and a lighted bicycle display. Santa and Mrs. Santa will be in attendance to hear any special requests.

Since last year, a chainsaw-carved bench made from a fallen oak tree has been set in place along with the face of a wood nymph carved into the trunk of a dead but sturdy tree trunk. Eagle Scout Sam Hay IV designed and is building a fanciful bridge to connect the front and back of the park with the help of other Eagle Scouts and volunteers as his Eagle Scout project and a lasting gift to the park.

A giant Christmas tree and nearby church steeple will anchor the back portion of the park, where choruses will gather to perform. Many unique lighted features will light up the starry night, usually the coldest of the season to date. The ruins of the grand home that once stood on site will be specially decorated to revive memories of the families that once shared holidays within its walls.

Twilights Chair Jean Austin revels in the breadth and depth of community support for this unique holiday spectacular. "There are many musical and dance performances, along with the downtown Christmas parade, that highlight the holiday season in Covington and Newton County, but Twilights at Chimney Park makes a special contribution to the season and brings out hundreds of families to share in a magical night. Please join us." Chimney Park is designed and maintained by Friends of Newton Parks, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit organization. For information, contact Barbara Morgan at (770) 385-8811.