Newton County's Historic Courthouse is decked out in red, white and blue in preparation for Covington's Independence Day celebration set for Sunday afternoon. This year's decorations are based on a photo of the courthouse from 1908, presumably around the Fourth of July.
COVINGTON -- Patriotism is alive and well in Newton County, and this Fourth of July, there are plenty of opportunities to show it.
Festivities abound in Covington, Porterdale, Oxford and neighboring Social Circle. Here's a rundown on what's happening this holiday weekend:
Fireworks are returning to Covington after a two-year absence. The city of Covington, Main Street Covington and McKibben Music have joined forces to host a celebration downtown beginning at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, July 3. Two stages will feature non-stop performances by a variety of musical acts, including McKibben Music Band, Eastside High School Chorale Group, Thomas Tillman, BluMaxx, Reflections of Elvis, Newton County Community Band, The Bodines, and The Covington All-Star Band.
Fireworks are slated to start following the All-Star Band's performance, which begins at 8:25 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to bring a picnic and lawn chairs. Fireworks can be viewed downtown or from parking areas along U.S. Highway 278.
McKibben Music will raffle off a Peavey HP Signature Blues Guitar valued at nearly $800. Raffle tickets are $5 each and will be sold at the store through July 3.
Motorists should be aware that the Square and one block off the Square will be closed beginning Saturday at 7 p.m. Usher and Stallings streets will be closed at 2 p.m. Sunday and all roads will remain closed until after the event.
Parking is available in the Newton County Parking Deck on Elm Street and city of Covington lots next to The Lofts on Church Street and off Emory Street. Handicap parking is available beside the Newton County Administration Building on Elm Street.
The city of Porterdale's Fourth of July celebration is proof that where there's a will, there's a way. Two years ago, the council decided the city didn't have enough money to fund a celebration, so Councilman Robert Foxworth headed up an effort to solicit private donations. The event has grown each year, and this year, $13,000 worth of fireworks will create a dazzling spectacle expected to last half an hour.
Festivities begin at 3 p.m. Monday, July 4, in downtown Porterdale. About 20 arts and crafts vendors will set up booths and there will be games, moonwalks and a spider bungee jump for kids. The Shane Millwood band will perform from 5 to 9 p.m. and they'll be followed by the fireworks.
Free parking is available downtown and at several nearby lots and fields, and there will be folks on hand to provide golf cart rides to those in need of assistance.
Foxworth said he's proud of efforts to keep the celebration going despite tough times. This year, Foxworth expects to collect $15,000 for the event, having raised more than $13,000 of that himself.
"The sponsors should be more proud than anybody," he said, thanking all those who have contributed.
The city of Oxford and Oxford Lions Club are once again hosting the annual Fourth of July Parade and Celebration.
This year, the parade begins at 10 a.m. Monday, and will feature patriotic-themed bicycles, cars, trucks and floats. Melvin and Gussie Baker will serve as the parade grand marshals. Registration is not required to participate. The line-up starts at 9 a.m. on Haygood Avenue, and to be considered for an award, participants must be in line by 9:30 a.m. Candy may be handed out by walkers but candy may not be thrown from moving vehicles.
The route will proceed around Haygood, West Bonnell, Wesley and Emory streets.
Following the parade, everyone is invited to gather at Old Church for free watermelon, popcorn and music. Mayor Jerry Roseberry will hand out a $100 award for Best Float and a $50 award for Best Bicycle at noon at Old Church.
The community Fourth of July celebration will take place at 5:30 p.m. Monday with a parade through town featuring tractors, wagons, cars, bikes, golf carts, motorcycles and more, followed by a gospel concert on the football field that will conclude with fireworks. A car show hosted by Social Circle Kruizers will be held downtown from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Proceeds will buy toys for children's hospitals.
This is the third year Social Circle has held a community celebration. The event originated with Bishop Bill Davenport from Corinth Missionary Baptist Church, who formed a committee of volunteers to plan the first event in 2009. The 2011 planning committee consists of local churches, Social Circle's Better Hometown and Historic Society, the Social Circle Public Safety Department, city officials, community leaders and the business community.