Awesome: The Rise of New Covington
This editorial is written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News.
Something happened in Covington on Friday night and it was awesome.
And like flipping through a zine, a page was turned in this city.
For the past year and a half I have attended nearly every city, civic, and news event in Covington and while they all have had their share of highs and lows, none has had the palpable energy that permeated the Artisan Enterprise Center on Friday evening. This Cov Love fest was very real and very awesome.
The Awesome Collective of Covington accomplished multiple feats that had previously seemed impossible in a city that all too often stands in its own way. Among them were the hosting of an event that drew more outsiders than insiders and the comprehensive collection of the people, places, and things that make Covington what it is.
It has been more than a decade if ever there were this much local excitement over something called a "zine", a printed relic from the underground of the 1990s, but the Index of Covington Awesome is worth every ounce of it. The tiny booklet is page after page of quirky and passionate tributes to shops, restaurants, institutions, personalities, and experiences that piece together the mosaic that is the City of Covington. Most importantly, this zine means every word of it and the people who attended its launch party Friday know it.
And soon everyone else will, too. New Covington was on display and New Covington is on the march. And Old Covington is on notice.
Even the timing is perfect. A launch like this would not have worked a year ago or even six months ago when critical pieces of the city's future hung in an uncertain balance. Budget, infrastructure, economic development, I'm looking your way. But after consecutive months of mostly welcome, city-changing news, a celebration was in order and the Awesome Collective were hosts beyond compare.
The zine launch party was not designed to be flashy and it wasn't. It wasn't supposed to be raucous and it wasn't. No frills were expected and there weren't any. This event was about experience and those in attendance got one.
A series of tables lined every inch of the walls and the center floor at the Artisan Enterprise Center and at each one a Covington business or organization was represented offering a personal experience of their wares. Most of it was free: pizza, coffee, holiday martinis, bourbon, mac-n-cheese, and sushi were just some of the complimentary perks of feasting at this Love the Cov buffet. The first table featured the zine and piles of the Awesome Collective's patch that reads Covington Awesome Since 1815 (the year the city was founded). To the side of that table, attractive tote bags were being branded with that message and for $5 you could take one home to carry all the other Covington Awesome stuff.
And all around the room that awesome message was absorbed.
The zine reads like a sort of New Testament for future Covington missionaries with short and sweet verses that speak of the saints and holy places that believed in this city as long as they have been here, no matter how long that is.
Crowds of Covingtonians pack this pizzeria nightly...
Step N Out
Have you always wanted to learn how to swing dance?...
Look up the definition of "leader" and Tom Wherry will be cited as a prime example...
Goose Girl Fountain
At one time, farmers raised geese in the area...
Mayor Chuck Scheper
One of the most awesome things to happen to Covington was when businessman Charles Scheper was sworn in October, 2011...
There are hundreds of awesome entries. This Covington bible also includes a page dedicated to the Awesome Collective's core values, a set of ten commandments that should be on display in every building: Embrace and celebrate Covington's awesomeness; Create fun and a little weirdness; Nurture Covington's limitless potential; Design "with" not "for"; Risk-taking and failure are okay!; Break down barriers with out-of-the-box thinking and kindness; Use creativity to seek opportunities and solve problems; Make good ideas work through partnerships and inclusiveness; Create and/or adopt innovative ideas and best practices from around the country; Be thankful, Be Positive, Be Awesome.
Those are the tenets by which these people of New Covington choose to live by, all the while looking forward and onward for that next awesome thing to add to Covington's collective. There was no study, there were no public hearings, the news cameras were not present, and yet in one short evening the Awesome Collective of Covington laid out a path for the future of the city. They did it with the help of people who believe in this new gospel, who believe that the community should work together to better itself and to celebrate the awesomeness of what is already here.
This zine is Covington: a fresh, primed-for-opportunity, passionate, forward-thinking, ambitious, bold, strange, funny, creative, historic, baffling, unforgettable, wild, cool, quirky, awesome place.
A lot of us have known this for a long time and thanks to the Awesome Collective of Covington many, many more are going to.
And that's awesome.