COVINGTON - On Aug. 1, Covington will host opening ceremonies for the Dixie Boys World Series for the fourth time. But it will be the first time the event is held on the Square and with such fanfare.
At 7 p.m., the Statesboro Blues Band will kick things off with a concert, where the crowd can enjoy free watermelon, popcorn, Crackerjacks and other traditional ballpark snack foods.
Opening ceremonies for the 12 teams involved in the World Series will take place at 8:30 p.m. on a stage set up in front of the historic courthouse, complete with a light show.
"I'm hoping the community comes out and supports the event," said Anthony Avery, assistant director of the Newton County Recreation Commission.
Avery and Main Street Covington Director Josephine Kelly credit Recreation Commission Director Tommy Hailey with the idea of bringing the ceremony to downtown in hopes of getting the community more involved.
"It's an honor and a wonderful opportunity to sort of showcase the historic downtown," Kelly said.
"Families are combining attendance at the tournament with family vacation and we want to make them aware of opportunities (in Covington)," she added. "Both Main Street and the tourism program at the Chamber appreciate how the Recreation Commission, under Mr. Hailey's leadership, really thinks holistically about the community and making it a win-win situation for everyone involved."
Streets leading into the Square will be closed about 5:30 p.m. Various lots near the Square will be open for parking.
World Series games will take place Aug. 2 to 7, at City Pond Park Complex.
A total of 196 coaches and players representing 12 teams from 11 states will be in town, according to Avery. In addition to the team representing Georgia, Newton County will have its own host team.
The teams are all state champions, with the exception of the Newton team, made up of all-star players from local Dixie Boy leagues.
The Recreation Commission previously hosted the series in 1993, 1997 and 2002.
The Recreation Commission is required to pay for team room and board and meal expenses, but those costs are offset by donations from the community, Avery said.
"We've had a great turnout for businesses coming out and helping. We're getting a lot of in-kind services," Avery said.
Admission cost for games is $5 per day. Tournament passes are available for $25.
For more information, call the Recreation Commission at 770-786-4373.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.