COVINGTON, Ga. — With roughly two weeks until Thanksgiving, the city of Covington is gearing up for the holiday season.
As Christmas lights and decorations have been put out in recent weeks, city officials announced Wednesday, Nov. 4, that the traditional Lighting of Downtown Covington would be held Nov. 19 at 7 p.m.
Unlike years past, the Square will not be shut down completely, according to Downtown Coordinator Nic Matthews. There will also be no fireworks. However, Santa will still be on hand to help turn on the lights. There will be a brief performance by the Newton County Arts Association prior to the lighting.
This year the city will have a live tree on the Square. During a recent council meeting, City Manager Scott Andrews said city staff had purchased a tree from Berry’s Christmas Tree Farm that stands approximately 30 feet tall.
In recent years, there has been a Christmas parade and a carnival among other activities. But because of COVID-19, the city has decided to “scale back” their 2020 festivities.
“With the safety of the public in mind, plans, this year, are to scale back events associated with the ‘Lighting of the Square,’” Mayor Steve Horton stated on behalf of the city council. “Though a number of activities will occur, the scaling back is associated with trying to help prevent or slow the spread of the COVID 19 virus. Therefore, as we hope and pray for a safe and prosperous holiday season for merchants and citizens alike, we do strongly urge everyone to wear a mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines while they enjoy the festivities.”
In 2019, the Lighting of Downtown Covington was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Tree Lighting Events in Georgia” by Trips to Discover. Activities from a year ago included horse-drawn carriage rides, a parade with an after-party, a live nativity scene, a Christmas scavenger hunt and a movie night.
This year the event would have coincided with the opening of an ice skating rink at Legion Field, but Community Development Director Trey Sanders said its opening has been postponed due to “unseasonably warm temperatures.”
Other holiday events are in the works for the downtown area, Matthews said. Here's a look at the tentative schedule:
• Lighting of the Square - Nov. 19, 7 p.m.
• Late Night Christmas Shopping on the Square - Dec. 3, 10, and 17
• Santa on the Square – Dec. 3 and 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. and Dec. 19, 5-8 p.m.
• Lions Club “Reverse” Parade – Dec. 5, 6-7:30 p.m. on Newton Drive
• Downtown Christmas Decorating Contest - Dec. 7-12
• South Pole Express at Legion Field – Nov. 27-28, Dec. 5-6, Dec. 11-12, Dec. 18-19
• Ice Skating Rink – November-February (exact dates TBD)
More details of events will be released at a later time.