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Covington hosts Harvest Festival Saturday

COVINGTON — It’s time to celebrate fall in downtown Covington. Harvest Festival 2013 takes place on the Square Saturday.

In the past, Main Street Covington has held separate events over several fall weekends, but this year, listening to requests from citizens and business owners, the board decided to hold a day-long festival, said Main Street Chair Serra Phillips.

There’s something to do for just about everyone, and even furry canine friends will get the chance to strut their stuff at the annual Mutt Show, sponsored by the Newton County Humane Society. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., with judging set to start at 10 a.m. in the Square Park. First, second and third prizes will be awarded in the following categories: Look-a-Like, for the dog who looks most like its owner, Most Beautiful, Most Handsome and Waggiest Tail. A Best in Show trophy will also be handed out this year. Dog owners can register to win door prizes. There is no entry fee but donations are appreciated.

Betty Bellairs, chair of the local chapter of the Humane Society, said the Mutt Show has been a local tradition for about 20 years, drawing between 25 and 75 contestants each year.

“We hope everybody will bring their dogs and enter them because it’s fun, and we’d just like everybody to come and have a good time,” she said.

More than 45 arts, crafts and food vendors will set up from noon until 7 p.m., and will feature “anything from hair bows to oil paintings to lawn art,” said Phillips.

Newton County Farm Bureau will host a tractor showcase throughout the day on the inner ring of the Square and, at 6 p.m., a tractor parade. Kids can pick a pumpkin and learn how to safely carve it at the Farm Bureau’s pumpkin patch.

Newton County 4-H is providing a petting zoo and students will display their science and art projects.

There will also be inflatables, face painting and a spider jump for kids.

The festivities will wrap up at 7 p.m., but it still won’t be time to go home. A viewing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” will start at 7 p.m. Covington First United Methodist Church has donated its large movie screen for the event.

“It’s wholesome, it’s great. Get the kids out, bring the lawn chairs, bring the blankets and enjoy Charlie Brown on the Square,” Phillips said.

She said the Main Street board hopes this year’s Harvest Festival will kickstart an annual tradition.

“The whole idea is to try to grow something where we become the next type of place you put on your calendar to go, like a Cherry Blossom or Friendship Festival or something like that, where we really make this year after year … for many visitors to come into our town and come and experience downtown Covington in a different way,” she said.

Parking is available in the public deck off Elm Street, several downtown public lots and the Visitor’s Center on Clark Street.

Immediately after the Harvest Festival, Main Street will prepare for this year’s new holiday extravaganza, “Covington’s Magical Lights of Christmas,” beginning Nov. 21, Phillips said. Main Street and the city of Covington are jointly funding the lighting of all buildings on the Square and one block off and more than 50 trees downtown.