Courthouse holiday lighting on Thursday

COVINGTON -- Though the calendar and the colorful leaves say it's still fall, Christmas will be here soon.

Workmen with the city of Covington Street Department were busy hanging holiday decorations on the Square in downtown Covington earlier this week, in preparation for the lighting of the Newton County Historic Courthouse, the official start to the local holiday season.

The event, hosted by Main Street Covington and the Arts Association in Newton County, will kick off at 5:15 p.m. on Thursday with the arrival of Santa Claus.

Santa will be escorted by the cast of the 2009 Covington Regional Ballet's "The Nutcracker."

From the courthouse steps, Santa will start the festivities, including performances by The Community Band and the Oxford Singing Children, as well as recognition of the individual or group chosen to pull the switch and light the courthouse.

Other activities that evening will include carriage rides and visits with Santa at Ramsey's Furniture Company Annex on Clark Street from 6 to 8 p.m., as well as music by the Downtown Covington Carolers.

"The theme is 'A Hometown Celebration' and the community is truly responsive to it in that way. On the evening of the lighting we have a number of community groups and organizations and businesses all hosting different activities down on the Square," said Main Street Covington Director Josephine Kelly.

The celebration will continue every Thursday in December, with downtown merchants keeping late hours for shoppers. Santa will be available for visits from 5 to 8 p.m. and carriage rides will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Dec. 3, 10 and 17.

There will be plenty of holiday spirit in downtown Covington on the weekends as well, starting with the Covington-Newton County Christmas Parade hosted by the Covington Lions Club at 11 a.m. Dec. 5, and followed by Breakfast with Santa hosted by the Covington Pilots Club at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 12. Santa will also be available to take Christmas wish lists and for pictures from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 12 and 19.

For more information on any of these events, call Main Street Covington at 770-385-2077 or visit www.downtowncovington.org.