Sunday: The Times will publish a special section about the 2011 General Assembly. The Times will also publish a 28-page section that recounts the 2010 gubernatorial campaign through stories and photos from our pages.
Monday: On gainesvilletimes.com, we'll have live updates from Atlanta, including a live video stream of the swearing-in ceremony.
Tuesday: We'll offer expanded coverage in print and online of all of the inauguration activities.
ATLANTA - Days before he will be sworn in as Georgia's 82nd governor, Gov.-elect Nathan Deal took a different kind of oath Friday morning at the Georgia State Capitol.
Cleveland residents and elected officials watched while Deal and his wife Sandra took the "oath of adoption," promising to care for two Cabbage Patch Kids presented to the couple by Margaret McLean, director of corporate communications for Original Appalachian Artworks, the parent company of Cleveland's Babyland General Hospital.
"I have to say, today, that the Cabbage Patch delivered their best ‘Deals,'" McLean said of the Cabbage Patch Kids, named John Nathan and Emilie Sandra.
The pair was designed to capture the Deals' likeness as they were on election night. John Nathan sports a blue suit, red tie, salt-and-pepper hair and a pin that reads "Deal. Real," his campaign slogan. Emilie Sandra features a red, ruffled jacket, elephant pin and curled blonde hair.
Standing alongside the Kids, the couple repeated after McLean an oath required of every new Cabbage Patch Kid "parent."
"I have been practicing an oath, but it wasn't that one," Deal said at the event, adding that his history with Cabbage Patch Kids creator Xavier Roberts goes back to when Roberts began his business in the early 1980s.
"When Xavier Roberts decided to start this idea that he had as an artist, he was looking for lawyers who would be willing to do legal work in order to get him started," Deal said. "And he came to the law firm where I practiced in Gainesville, Ga.
"This is an excellent example of entrepreneurship that has been very successful and has brought jobs to the mountains of North Georgia, and I'm just honored to have little John Nathan here with me today."
Deal said he plans to put the Kids in the Governor's Mansion and "feed them appropriately."
Cleveland Mayor Don Stanley, who attended the event, said the Cabbage Patch Kids continue to bring good publicity to the city.
"We're very fortunate to have the Cabbage Patch in Cleveland and in White County," Stanley said. ".. It's added a lot to the county, and also the economy of the county."
Harris Blackwood, Deal's inaugural events coordinator, said a member of Deal's inaugural staff, Cleveland resident Josh Turner, helped coordinate Friday morning's event.
"White County is near and dear to the governor-elect because he has represented that area when he was in Congress and has got a lot of friends there," Blackwood said.
"Cabbage Patch Kids are known the world over, so this is an exciting day," he added.