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Auxiliary, Operation Sandbox host festival to benefit soldiers overseas

COVINGTON - The American Legion Women's Auxiliary Unit 32 is teaming with Operation Sandbox to host a festival to support the troops this Saturday.

The Support Our Troops Festival will take place from 4 to

8 p.m. on the Square in downtown Covington.

Proceeds will benefit Operation Sandbox, a nonprofit organization that sends supplies to troops deployed overseas, said Lura Whitaker, publicity chairwoman for the event. Most of the money raised will be used to pay for postage, which costs $9 per box mailed out by Operation Sandbox, Whitaker said.

The public will be able to make a monetary donation to Operation Sandbox and to donate items needed by the troops. Donations will be accepted in lieu of an admission fee.

Approximately 20 vendors will be on hand offering food, children's games, arts and crafts and information on local organizations and businesses.

Music will be provided by Elvis, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline impersonators and The Archmen Band, a rock 'n' roll band that performs tunes from the '50s, '60s and '70s.

Classic cars, including the General Lee from the "Dukes of Hazzard" will also be on display, and there will be face painting, moonwalks and pony rides for kids.

This is the first year the auxiliary and Operation Sandbox have partnered to put on a festival. Last year, the organizations had a countywide collection day on July 4.

"We had a really good turnout and we were thinking that if we had activities going on, we would draw more people," said Debra Hamby, president of the auxiliary.

"Our purpose in doing it in November was to tie it in with Veterans Day (on Nov. 11) and let people remember and support the ones who are in service now," she added. "This is a way we can honor the lives of the ones that have served."

In related news, Operation Sandbox is sponsoring a motorcycle ride to benefit the troops as well.

Registration will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at Granite Mountain Harley-Davidson in Conyers. The ride will get under way at 2:30 p.m. and will end at the Square in Covington in time for the festival. Riders will have a police escort through the countryside of Rockdale and Newton counties. A $20 donation per bike is required, and all makes and models are allowed.

For more information, call Operation Sandbox headquarters at 770-784-9155.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.