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Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas
Festival of Trees to benefit Special Olympics
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While many among us may be dreaming of a white Christmas, there are others who have dreamed up a … pirate Christmas.

You can see for yourself what hangs on a "pirate’’ Christmas tree as the Festival of Trees returns to the former Mayfield Hardware location on the square in downtown Covington.

This year’s event, which will be open for three long weekends beginning Nov. 21, will also feature a baseball tree, an equestrian tree and patriotic trees. There will even be Eastside, Alcovy and Newton trees, representing the county’s three high schools, said Lisa Conner, one of the event organizers.

Proceeds this year will benefit Newton County Special Olympics and its equestrian, skating, bowling and masters programs. Last year’s event raised more than $9,000, and organizers "would love to raise $12,000" this year, Conner said. "Everything stays in Newton County,’’ she said.

As in years past, those attending are invited to submit bids to a silent auction for the elegant and eclectic themed trees. So far this year, there are at least 26 trees in the festival, Conner said, and there may be more.

There also will be raffles for gift baskets, gift certificates and other items, including four bicycles donated by the Sheriff’s Department.

"The raffle tickets for the bicycles will be $1 each, so that every child has an equal chance’’ of winning, Conner said. She added that organizers are still in need of donations of gift baskets and gift certificates.

Also this year, there will be a children’s corner where the little ones can create Christmas crafts, and a yard sale where their parents can shop for gently used Christmas décor items.

The Newton County Optimist Club "donated a great deal of time with the event last year,’’ according to Conner. This year, she and fellow organizers Saba Tanner and Dawn Atha "decided it was time to go under the umbrella’’ of the Optimist Club, "which is dedicated to children.’’ Those who visit the Festival of Trees can speak with Optimist Club President Anita Still about the club’s programs and how to become involved.

The 2013 Festival of Trees will be open on the following schedule: 5–8 p.m., Nov. 21 and 22 and 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Nov. 23; 5–8 p.m., Nov. 29 and 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Nov. 30; and 5–8 p.m., Dec. 5 and 6 and 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Dec. 7. It will be closed Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28.

To donate to or volunteer for the Festival of Trees, contact Conner at 678-459-7752 or visit