The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­

Fire­works fill the night sky over the Cov­ing­ton Square, cap­ping a day filled with fes­ti­vals, pa­rades, mu­sic and pa­tri­o­tism that brought out thou­sands of people in New­ton County.

Thou­sands of people may have been awed by the sight of col­or­ful fire­works ex­plod­ing above Cov­ing­ton’s His­toric Court­house clock tower, but Cov­ing­ton’s In­de­pen­dence in the Park fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers were def­i­nitely in awe of how the event seemed to go off with­out a hitch Fri­day.

Cov­ing­ton Po­lice Cap­tain Craig Tread­well, who re­ported no ma­jor events as­so­ci­ated with the fes­ti­val, or the Fourth of July cel­e­bra­tions in Cov­ing­ton on the whole, said he thought there were around 8,000-10,000 on the Square.

Those vis­i­tors were able to hear live mu­sic through­out the day on two stages and en­joy food

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from booths manned by Cov­ing­ton restaurants such as Bradley’s BBQ, Bread and But­ter Bak­ery, Scoops, RL’s and more. There was also a kids zone with wa­ter slides, rock climb­ing wall, face paint­ing booth and other op­tions for youth en­ter­tain­ment.

Those food and en­ter­tain­ment op­tions were made a re­al­ity af­ter months of plan­ning by Cov­ing­ton’ Main Street depart­ment. That plan- ning started even be­fore Main Street di­rec­tor Velinda Whee­les was hired in May, thanks to the con­tri­bu­tions of Main Street board mem­ber An­drea Smith and Main Street in­tern Brittany Ja­cob­son.

“I had not been hired yet and (Smith) said we have to get started — she took it and went with it,” Whee­les said. “That was a team ef­fort. They say it takes a vil­lage … I’ll tell you what, this vil­lage is awe­some.”

Whee­les said she will soon start to come up with ideas for next year’s Fourth of July fes­ti­val to make it an even more suc­cess­ful event than Fri­day.

“I saw him that night, and the mayor (Ron­nie John­ston) said to me, you set the bar,” Whee­les said. “I said it wasn’t me, this was a team of folks.”

The streets around the Square were team­ing with folks through­out Fri­day, and thanks to a com­bined ef­fort from the Cov­ing­ton Fire and Po­lice de­part­ments, there were no in­ci­dents re­ported.

“Our safety depart­ment — our po­lice, our fire, all city em­ploy­ees … I’ve never seen group of people come to­gether and sup­port some­thing like they did yes­ter­day. I’ve never seen the ded­i­ca­tion of the of­fi­cers that go be­hind the scenes to guar­an­tee safety for ev­ery­one. Hands down they’re the best people I’ve ever worked with through a Main Street pro­gram.”

Dar­rell Everidge/the Cov­ing­ton News

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