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Downtown preps for courthouse lighting
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From writing competitions to shining individuals and organizations, Main Street Covington invites the community to participate in several events in its preparations for the Lighting of the Courthouse event to be held on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m.

Josephine Kelly, director of Main Street Covington, said her office is in full swing preparing for the annual event that takes place on the square. She said the Main Street office has received some of their holiday lighting decorations for the event already and are preparing to install them around the square.

Main Street Covington approved spending up to $35,000 to purchase new decorations for the downtown square and to upgrade the holiday lighting downtown.

Kelly previously said all of the lamp poles will have pole-mounted lighted snowflake decorations, festive lights between the poles and the office is working with city departments concerning the installation of a Image Projection System to play seasonal images on to the front of the courthouse throughout the holiday season.

In addition to adding decorations and additional lighting, Kelly said the office is accepting nominations for the 2012 Newton County's Shining Light award and essays for the Thanksgiving Essay Contest, which ties to the Lighting of the Courthouse event.

The Shining Light award will be presented at the Lighting of Newton County's Historic Courthouse on Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. Nomination forms can be downloaded at and should be submitted by 5 p.m. on Nov. 8.

"It's a way of recognizing a person or persons or organization who have a big heart and make a difference in the quality of life for citizens of Newton County," Kelly said.

The Thanksgiving Essay Competition is a contest for school students from first through 12th grades in area private or public schools. Students are asked to write an essay in 600 words or less that has the opening line "Let us be thankful."

The essay writer winner will receive a Kindle Fire and have the opportunity to read their winning essay at the Lighting of the Courthouse event.

Essays should be sent to Main Street Covington at P.O. Box 1527, Covington, GA 30015 also by Nov. 8 at 5 p.m. The essay winner will be announced on Nov. 13.

The Thanksgiving Essay Contest is sponsored by The Covington News and Main Street Covington.

Last year's Lighting of the Historic Courthouse ceremony included a visit from Santa Claus and the 4-H Rein Lambs and musical entertainment from the Newton County Community Band, Oxford Singing Children and Oxapella Community from Oxford College. Community leader Rucker Ginn flipped the switch to light the Historic Courthouse and the Kiwanis Club of Covington was awarded with the 2011 Newton County Shining Lights recognition.

Kelly said some of those same groups will perform for the community and they will also add in a couple of surprise elements this year.