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Festival of Trees raises most yet
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The Newton County Festival of Trees opened Nov. 21 for its third annual event, the second year in Mayfield’s on The Square, donated by Lee and Kendra Mayfield.

In 2013 The Festival of Trees partnered with the Newton County Optimist Club. Optimist Clubs are dedicated to "Bringing Out the Best in Kids" and do their part through community service programs. The FOT Committee members are Saba Tanner, Dawn Atha, Lisa Conner, Anita Still and Janet Lockhart. The mission of the Festival of Trees of Newton County is to raise money to benefit local Newton County charitable programs.

The inaugural Festival of Trees in 2011 raised $2,500 to benefit Chimney Park. In 2012 it raised $9,000 for the Miracle League of Newton County, which was used to purchase a piece of playground equipment.

For 2013, the Festival of Trees of Newton raised $13,050 for the Newton County Special Olympics Program, which will be divided between three entities of the Special Olympics: Special Olympics programs for the Newton County School System students; Special Olympics Masters (for adults who have graduated from school); and the Special Olympics Equestrian program.

Newton County Special Olympics serves intellectually disabled athletes of all ages.

"The Newton County Festival of Trees is an amazing event that not only raises much-needed funds for wonderful organizations, but also brings the Covington community together during the most wonderful time of the year," said LaTrelle Cawthon, the Newton County Special Olympics coordinator. "There is so much work that goes on behind the scenes. We are so thankful for the monies raised and promise to be frugal with the earnings. We plan to stretch these dollars as far as they will go.

"The schools will be using the money to send our first-ever alpine ski competitor to Regions in North Carolina in February.

"We also will be adding back our skating competitions that were a victim to budget cuts last year.," Cawthon said. "It is because of the generous donations made by the people of Covington that these athletes will be participating in events and making lifetime memories.’’

If anyone would like to participate or volunteer for the Festival of Trees, contact Lisa Conner at 678-459-7752.

For the Newton County Special Olympics, contact LaTrelle Cawthon at 770-788-5387 or Pam Dew at 404-791-3032. For the Optimist Club, contact Anita Still at 404-310-8871.