COVINGTON -- It may not feel much like Christmas is in the air, but the calendar is steadily advancing toward December, and organizers of the Covington/Newton Hometown Christmas Parade are reminding residents to begin preparations now for the annual event.
This year's theme is "The Magic of the Christmas Season," and the marchers will step off promptly at 11 a.m. Dec. 4 for the trek from Newton Drive to the Covington Square.
Entries for floats and a position in this year's parade must be postmarked no later than Nov. 29. Entry forms can be picked up at the two Mayfield's Hardware locations, on the Square and at Newton Plaza, and at Main Street Covington offices at 2104 Washington St. Also, forms can be downloaded at www.covingtonlions.org and www.downtowncovington.org. Mail forms to Covington Lion's Club, 4179 Town Branch Ct., Covington, GA 30014.
The parade is co-sponsored by the Covington Lion's Club, under the leadership of Parade Chairman Ed Minge, and Main Street Covington.
"Everyone has memories of the Christmas parade in Covington going back 20 or 30 years, but for the past 10 years Main Street and the Lion's Club have collaborated," said Main Street Covington Director Josephine Kelly. "It's been a great partnership."
There is no fee to enter a float in the parade; however, a donation will be accepted to offset costs of presenting the event.
Any group representing schools, churches, sports teams, businesses, civic and neighborhood groups is encouraged to participate.
"Start your plans to create a float, decorate a truck, wear a costume and join the fun," urged Lion's Club Publicity Chair Doreen Stallworth. "There will be people marching, riding or dancing in the parade."
Awards will be given in several categories for participants.
"There will be a Best All-Around Trophy for the float showing the best holiday spirit, theme, creativity and construction," Stallworth said. "This award will be given at the reviewing stand on the Square upon arrival at the Newton County Historical Courthouse. What an exciting time for the winner!"
There will also be awards given for first and second place in several categories, including schools (high school, middle school, elementary school and preschools and day care facilities), churches, civic groups, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, businesses; family, and lastly, horses for best tack, best rider dress and best group.
Deadline time for judging entries is 9:30 a.m. the day of the parade. Judging will take place at the parade staging area on Newton Drive.
Stallworth said some surprises will be in store for this year's event. The grand marshal has yet to be named and she said to expect a special float from a former TV show.
"Be on the lookout for the 'Dukes of Hazzard' General Lee car and the Hazzard County patrol car," she said.
But some things never change and that is the arrival of Santa Claus at the event.
"There will be only one Santa in the parade and he is the guest of Main Street Covington, the city of Covington and the Covington Lion's Club," she said.
For a complete list of rules and regulations governing the parade, as well as details of the parade route, see the entry form.