COVINGTON -- The thermometer may say summer's still lingering, but the calendar says it's time for the holidays.
The annual Lighting of the Courthouse will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday on the Square and everyone is welcome to attend and kick start the downtown holiday season.
Hosted by the Arts Association in Newton County, the event will include performances by the Oxford Singing Children and the Community Band and a guest appearance by Santa Claus, who will be available for pictures. Local 4-H participants will also be honored.
The identity of this year's "Shining Light," the community member selected to flip the switch to light the courthouse, is being kept under wraps. The selection committee just made its decision Friday, said Abigail Morgan Coggin with the Arts Association. Nominees are solicited from the public and those not selected this year will be automatically entered again next year, Coggin said.
"This is a great opportunity for us all to come together as a community and say thanks," she said. "With it falling right before Thanksgiving, we can give thanks, celebrate the giving season and honor those people that have gone over and beyond in helping and serving the community."
The event is free to the public. Sponsors are Main Street Covington, the Newton Citizen and Honda of Conyers.
Covington First United Methodist Church also invites everyone to walk over from the Square to its Conyers Street location and view a live nativity on the front lawn between 6:30 and 8 p.m.
Thursday night will also kick off the Hometown Holiday Celebration, which will take place each Thursday throughout the month of December. Merchants will stay open later hours for holiday shopping and there will be carriage rides around the Square, carolers and more.