Newton offers lots of Fourth activities

Linda Finch and her son Brandon hang a "Buy One, Get One Free" sign at their fireworks stand located in Covington Corners shopping center. The stand will be open seven days a week until July 4. Finch said proceeds from sales will go to support her non-profit, Linda Finch Life Academy.

Linda Finch and her son Brandon hang a "Buy One, Get One Free" sign at their fireworks stand located in Covington Corners shopping center. The stand will be open seven days a week until July 4. Finch said proceeds from sales will go to support her non-profit, Linda Finch Life Academy.


Dean Bessire and his son Tyler, 5, shop the TNT fireworks in front of the Walmart on Dogwood Drive. The Bessire's are from Madison, Ga. and were in town to take their dog to PetSmart. Behind the father and son is Edwin White, who runs the tent with his mom Denise. White has used a portion of sales during the last three years to subsidize his education at Georgia Tech, where he is a math major. Proceeds also benefit Georgia Preparatory School in Conyers, a school founded by Denise White.

COVINGTON -- Opportunities to mark the Fourth of July abound in Newton, and it's a good thing, given that city of Conyers officials have decided not to host a Fourth event this year, and Rockdale residents may be traveling across county lines to celebrate.

Independence in the Park 2012 takes place Sunday, July 1, on the Square in downtown Covington. The event, hosted by downtown business owner Mack McKibben and the city of Covington, will kick off at 2:30 p.m. and feature more than seven hours of non-stop music.

"We're going to have a north stage and a south stage. The north stage will be in front of the courthouse and the south stage will be positioned in front of the Thai restaurant on Monticello Street. While one (band) is setting up, the other will be playing," McKibben said, adding that there are eight bands and three solo acts lined up, all of them from Newton and Rockdale counties. A variety of musical genres will be represented, from bluegrass to jazz, from Southern rock to hard rock. McKibben's group, The All Star Band, will play "a mixture of high energy dance music," including songs by Gloria Estefan, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, the Bee Gees and Adele. There will be a total of 49 musicians and dancers taking part in The All Star Band's performance, which will be the last act before the fireworks begin at around 10 p.m.

"It's just going to be a fun event with a lot of energy," McKibben said.

It will be a fitting atmosphere to honor one of the community's most beloved musicians, band leader T.K. Adams, who will receive the keys to the city.

The event is free and the public is encouraged to bring picnics and lawn chairs. There will be food for sale as well and inflatables and face painting for kids.

The Covington Police Department will have a booth set up for folks to pre-register for the Fuzz Run, the popular road race set for Sept. 8. A discounted pre-registration price of $15 will be offered to those who register on Sunday. Regular pre-registration is $18 and registration the day of the race is $20. The CPD is also seeking sponsors for the event. For more information about the Fuzz Run or to download a registration form, visit www.covingtonpolice.com. The official T-shirt for this year's race will be revealed on Sunday as well -- look for folks wearing red T-shirts to see the winning design by an Alcovy High School student.

If one celebration just isn't enough, The Community Band, directed by Adams, will perform a free patriotic concert from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 4 on the Square.

On July 4, Porterdale will host its annual fireworks extravaganza. Festivities will kick off at 3 p.m. with live music by Phil Thompson and David Clemons and the band Americopia. A parade will take place at 4 p.m. and everyone is welcome to "decorate dogs and wagons and anything they want" and join in, said events coordinator Martha Cain.

The parade will line up at Porterdale Baptist Church, head down Main Street and end at Hemlock Street. At 7 p.m., there will be cage wrestling provided by Platinum Championship Wrestling in Atlanta. Fireworks will start at dark and are visible from anywhere downtown, Cain said. Signs will point motorists to designated parking areas.

The event is free. "Bring chairs and come for a good time," Cain said.

The city of Oxford and the Oxford Lions Club will once again host the Fourth of July Parade at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, July 4.

The parade line up begins at 9 a.m. on Haygood Avenue.

Participants are encouraged to decorate bicycles, cars, trucks or floats in patriotic themes. Throwing candy and other items from vehicles is prohibited, but candy may be handed out by walking participants.

To be in the running for the Best Float, participants must be lined up by 9:30 a.m. Led by Citizens of the Year/Grand Marshals Hoyt and Latrelle Oliver, the parade will head down Haygood, Stone and West Bonnell streets, up Emory, then on to Soule Street and down Wesley Street.

The Best Float award will be presented by Mayor Jerry Roseberry following the parade at Old Church. Entertainment will be provided by Shane Millwood and his band, named Country Atlanta's Luminary Band of the Year in 2011. There will also be concessions, and the Oxford Lions will provide free watermelon and popcorn.

For more information call 770-786-7004.

Meanwhile, the city of Conyers announced it will not host the Fabulous Fourth Festival at the Georgia International Horse Park.

"This was a difficult decision the mayor and council made earlier in the year when budgeting for fiscal year 2012-2013 was taking place," said City Manager Tony Lucas. "The struggling economy and the cost of the event factored into the decision to cancel this year's event. More importantly the fact that the horse park employees and police officers working this event have not had the opportunity to enjoy the holiday with their families for years and the cost to pay these employees to be on site for the demanding preparation for the event and the day's festivities was significant."

The Fabulous Fourth Festival has been held at the Georgia International Horse Park since 2003, when it was relocated from Olde Town Conyers due to the event's growing popularity and safety concerns. Over the years, the event has expanded to include a patriotic program, children's activities, arts and crafts vendors, entertainment, an Ultimate Air Dogs show and a car show in addition to the fireworks.

"Our budget is determined by a number of factors each year so we will definitely reevaluate next year to see if we can bring back this popular event in 2013," Lucas said.