The Covington Square was alive Thursday night as crowds of people braved the coronavirus and the cold to come for the annual Lighting of the Square.

In an effort to keep the crowd size down in light of restrictions against large gatherings due to COVID-19, Covington scaled down this year’s event to just 30 minutes, with the Newton Motion Dance Ensemble from the Covington Regional Ballet and the Brass Ensemble from the Newton County Community Band providing entertainment.

Newton County Commission Chair Marcello Banes wished the crowd happy holidays and said to expect even more in the new year.

“We’re getting ready to celebrate the 200th year of Newton County next year,” Banes said. “We’ve got a lot of great things planned.”

Covington Mayor Steve Horton thanked everyone for coming out.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas,” Horton exclaimed. “There’s no better place to be tonight than in Newton County and Covington, Georgia. I thank all of you for being here. The coronavirus and certain restrictions caused us to scale back a little bit, but thank you for all the kind words.”

Santa Claus then took the spotlight to connect the plugs that lit the Christmas Tree, which was purchased locally this year. The connection also lit up other trees on the Square and up and down the streets that had also been decorated with lights.

Among the families attending the celebration were Nick and Shanta Biangel and their children Elizabeth and Ethan, decked out in “Team Santa” jerseys. The Biangels recently moved to Covington from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Nick said they had been looking forward to the Lighting of the Square.

“We love the tree lighting and the sense of community here,” he said. “We didn’t have that in Fort Lauderdale. We were looking forward to this, and it was great!”

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Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.

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