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'Magical Lights' on the square to flip the switch
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Covington will kick off the holiday season and light up the night at tomorrow evening’s "Magical Lights of Christmas’’ opening ceremony downtown on the square.

With the addition of $40,000 in new lights, the entire square will be ringed with lights for the 33 nights of "Magical Lights.’’ That’s a total of 43 buildings, 54 trees and more wattage than the mind can fathom.

Thursday night’s opening ceremony will begin around 6:15 p.m. with a performance by the Newton County Community Band. A brief, pared-back ceremony will start at 6:30 p.m., emceed by Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston and featuring the Oxford Singing Children and an appearance by Santa Claus. The lighting of the square is expected to take place around 7 p.m.

Thursday night’s event also kicks off a series of special Thursdays running through December and including:

• Later shopping on the square (retail and food businesses will stay open until 8 p.m. Thursdays), and sidewalk vendors will offer Christmas wares during the activities.

• Santa will be available for photos at Ramsey’s Furniture annex; photos are sponsored by The Covington News this year.

• A "Find the Downtown Dog" contest for children; children will get a card at participating downtown businesses and will have to find the dog hidden in stores and then drop their cards in a special Main Street drop box, which will enter the children in a raffle for various prizes.

• Various local groups will provide their voices in Caroling performances.

Horse-drawn carriage rides will only be available Nov. 21 this year, not on subsequent Thursdays.

New this year, Santa will also be on the square Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for photos up until Dec. 21. The Covington Lions Club’s annual Christmas parade is Dec. 7; Santa will be on the square after the parade wraps up.