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‘Christmas’ party tonight

More than 650 Covington County children will enjoy a “merry Christmas” tonight as they visit the Kiwanis Building for the annual Andalusia Community Christmas party at 6:30.

Larry Avery, Andalusia Community Christmas chairman, said the party is about more than simply giving out presents to the children.

“It’s going to be a fun night,” he said. “We’ll start out with some ladies from a local church, who will read the Christmas story to the kids. Then, we’ll separate the children up and some will go get their pictures with Santa, some will get photos on a pony provided by the Covington Cowgirls drill team and others will enjoy pizza.

“About 10 minutes into the start of all those activities, we’ll begin drawing for the 160 bicycles. And while the drawing and pizza party is going on, the parents and adults at the party can go pick up the Christmas presents for the kids.”

Avery added that volunteers will also hand out apples and oranges to the children as they leave the party, which is slated to finish around 8:45. He said any volunteers are welcome to join in the clean-up.

“I’m sure the building will be a total mess when it’s all over, but that’s OK because it meant the kids had fun,” he said. “We would welcome anyone who wants to stay to pitch in and help clean up. The more hands we have, the quicker the work will get done. Every other responsibility at the party is pretty much taken care of at this point, but we’ll take all the volunteers we can get for the clean-up.”

Tonight’s party is the culmination of a nearly-month-long project that involved countless volunteers and community members. Each child who registered for Community Christmas filled out a card, requesting a special present and/or clothing for the holidays. Those cards were then distributed to various businesses, and customers and employees agreed to buy the gifts for the children.

Avery said everything went very smoothly heading into tonight’s party.

“We did a little shopping (Thursday) for a few angels that weren’t accounted for, but everything else is ready for (tonight),” he said. “It’s been great support from the public this year, which is wonderful to see, especially in this tough economy. All we have to do now is hope the kids have a good time at the party.”

Avery said donations to Andalusia Community Christmas are still graciously appreciated, to help the non-profit organization meet its expenses. Donations may be sent to Andalusia Community Christmas, Inc., P.O. Box 1525, Andalusia, AL 36420.