COVINGTON -- It's time to head to the Covington Square with your family and maybe a picnic to enjoy the sounds of summer.
The Arts Association in Newton County and Main Street Covington are teaming up this year to present the annual Downtown Covington 2nd Friday Summer Concert Series.
"It's a community arts initiative," said Buncie Lanners, executive director of the Arts Association. "Even in these economic times, we realize the importance of offering opportunities for the community to come together."
The series is scheduled to be held every second Friday in June, August, September and October. Each event begins at 7 p.m. on the Historic Covington Square.
"We know that summer has truly arrived ... and we can kick back on the second Fridays of the month and enjoy an evening of music and good company," said Josephine Kelly, director of Main Street Covington. "The 2011 lineup is an exciting mix of artists and music, which includes blues, a string band, jazz and, for a little nostalgia, a John Denver tribute band."
The series kicks off Friday with the nationally-known Freight Hoppers, a string/Blue Grass band.
"People who are fans of this kind of music will love it," said Dan Walden, chair of the Board of Directors for Main Street Covington and a musician who plays old time string music with his wife Perri. "And people who aren't fans will be by the end of the night. It's amazing, fun, high-energy music."
There won't be a concert as part of the series in July -- instead the Square will feature the Independence Concert in the Park and Fireworks at 3:30 p.m. July 3 and the Newton County Community Band Concert at 5:00 p.m. July 4.
The series will return in August with Bobby Swain and the Blues Generation Band, and in September, it will feature Back Home Again -- A Tribute to John Denver, which includes Tom Becker, former member of the folk group the New Christy Minstrels.
The series closes on Oct. 14 with a performance by Derwin Daniels, featuring neo soul-funk jazz saxophone music.
Concert attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets, and Kelly said they also are welcome to bring a picnic to the Square or order food to go from one of the downtown restaurants. Businesses on the Square also have been encouraged to stay open late on the nights of the concerts, Walden said.
"One of Main Street's primary goals is revitalizing the downtown district by presenting cultural arts events," he said. "Hopefully, the event brings families downtown. We hope to bring new people to downtown Covington and remind folks of the great opportunities for shopping and dining."