COVINGTON — Mother Nature provided two showers and threw in some thunder and lightning at the 2019 Stars and Stripes Fest on the Square in Covington Thursday, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of the crowd or the fireworks display.

Thousands of people turned out for the annual festival, which featured plenty of food, fun and entertainment, including some local leaders in the fire department’s dunk tank. Covington City Council members Anthony Henderson and Josh McKelvey made themselves targets in the tank and both cooled off in the water as their participation drew plenty of challengers.

Carnelita Sabrosa, a Latin jazz band, opened the musical entertainment at 4 p.m. The Newton County Community Band was in the middle if its performance when the first rain show began around 6 p.m. The wet weather canceled the rest of the band’s show and also the planned performance by the Newton County Mass Choir with the band.

The rain stopped about 45 minutes later and The Maloy Brothers Bluegrass Band took the main stage. The finale at 8 p.m. was Funk Factory 5, which had the crowd dancing until the second shower, accompanied by lightning, ended the performance about 8:45 and sent many of those watching toward any shelter they could find.

The weather eased up about 9:30 p.m. and the fireworks started at 9:40 p.m. and lasted for 20 minutes, earning a round of applause from the crowd at the end. Just after the fireworks stopped, Mother Nature added the final touch with thunder and lightning south of town, but festivalgoers were able to get back to their cars safely to head home.

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.