Santa will be on the square this year for Covington residents’ photo-taking pleasure.
The Main Street Covington Board of Directors voted Thursday to revise Santa’s schedule this year. Santa will still be at Ramsey’s Furniture annex Thursdays during the holidays, but he’ll now be on the square on Saturdays.
Santa agreed to the move as long as the weather is OK, board Chair Serra Phillips said.
"Santa is coming to the square," Phillips said excitedly.
The Main Street program funds Santa’s appearances, and he’s been at Ramsey’s all this time because it was one of the
few places willing to host Santa years ago. In addition, the same photographer has been taking photos of children with Santa for years and selling her own photo packages under a verbal contract, Phillips said.
Many board members were unaware of the specifics of the Santa arrangements, and they decided to make a change this year.
The board is planning to put out a request for proposals from photographers; they will likely be allowed to continue selling packages, but will have to give part of the proceeds to Main Street.
The board also discussed whether to allow families to take their own photos with Santa.
The photographer who has taken photos in years past provided her own volunteers to help with line control; Main Street will now have to provide volunteers.
The Covington City Council wants to turn the square into a Christmas lights destination, donating $20,000 to the effort along with $20,000 from Main Street.
After putting out a bid for companies to handle the lighting of the square, the Main Street board voted 5-3 in favor of Covington-based Live Events Solutions.
The contract will pay Live Events $40,000 a year for three years to light the square and store the equipment.
The company will also participate in the annual Lighting of the Courthouse event, planned Nov. 21 this year, Phillips said.
The board chose Live Events, Phillips said, because it’s local, is enthusiastic about teaming up to promote the holidays, and was willing to step outside the box.
The first year will feature lights around the roofline of each building on the square, lights on the vertical outlines of buildings, and lights on the trees as approved by an arborist. The Newton County Judicial Center will be lit as part of the program, courtesy of Live Events.
Year two will add lights to awnings, signs, windows and doors, and year three will add decorative colored LED lights and other light images throughout the square, according to the company proposal.