It’s Time for the 8th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

On Saturday, February 9, 2019, Downtown Laurel will once again welcome over 3,000 hungry customers and 23 competition teams with their top secret chili recipes. The annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off is one of Laurel Main Street’s most popular events each year. 

At 6:00 a.m. the teams will begin setting up and decorating their booths along Central Avenue.  Teams are given one hour to set up and decorate before the real work begins.  Come early to watch the teams chop and dice their way to victory! All of the teams will prepare their recipes from scratch as attendees look on, mouths watering with anticipation. The event officially begins at 11:00 a.m. 

For just $10, you can enjoy an “all-you-can-eat” tasting bowl.  For $25, enjoy a “bottomless” Carl Buchanan keepsake pottery bowl.  These special bowls always sell out, so if you have your heart set on taking one home, be sure to get there early!

Our expert panel of judges will taste each entry and decide who wins the $1,000 prize in each category.  Who are these experts you ask?

Meet the Judges

Sherri Marengo is a DJ and community relations director for iHeart Radio in Hattiesburg on SL-100 and 1037-WFFX, she is also a DJ weekends on 95KSJ in Mobile, AL and the host of Homegrown Country on K99 in Biloxi on Sunday nights.

Currently the president of Just Over the Rainbow Theatre, Sherri is an actor, director, stage manager, kid wrangler and technical director for local theater groups, and Vice-chair of Community Theatre on the board of directors of Mississippi Theater Association. She stays busy in the community volunteering her time and experience to help groups like Habitat for Humanity and The Petal Jaycees among others.

She and her husband Charlie, married 37 years, still live within walking distance of Panther Stadium and are members of Petal Harvey Baptist Church. They are parents to three grown children and 5 grandkids ages, 4 to 22.

Watch for her brand new podcast in the spring on iHeart Radio.

 

Randy Holland is the Sales Manager for Concrete Forming and Shoring Specialties Inc. of Laurel, MS and is a Life Member of the SERTOMA club of Laurel. He enjoys cooking and sampling dishes from fellow home cooks across the southeast. Randy and his wife of 32 years Debbie, have 2 sons, Kevin & Curtis

 

 

 

 

 

Roxanne “Roxie” Dunn has dabbled in the culinary arts all her life. Her mother was an Executive Chef with outstanding achievements across the country. Roxanne followed in her footsteps, working her way through family owned and self-owned restaurants and hotels in New
Orleans, Hilton Head, Jekyll Island, and Atlanta. She continued her career in the hospitality industry, consulting and managing restaurants and hotels throughout the country.
She has travelled abroad extensively and worked with “The Apple Club” in Italy for over a year. Roxanne resides in Laurel and studies under renowned Chef John Diggetts at The Loft on Central.

 

 

Andy MacDonald is an award-winning journalist working as Cuisine Editor for Lagniappe, a weekly newspaper out of Mobile, AL. He is the founding member of the bluegrass band Fat Man Squeeze and owner of Picker’s Paradise, a guitar store in the Mobile area, where he spends most of his time teaching and repairing instruments. Whatever is left of him goes to his three kids, Lucas, Graham and Henry and wife Katie.

 

 

 

 

 

Additional Activities

At the end of this year’s event, we will draw the winner in our “split the pot raffle.” Tickets for the raffle are $10 per ticket or $40 for 5 tickets and can be purchased at Magnolia State Bank, from LMS members, or at the event.

Kids Activities

Central Creativity is graciously opening their doors and offering educational children’s activities during the Chili Cook Off.  Central Creativity is located on the corner of 6th Avenue and Sawmill Road, and is about a one-minute walk from the downtown festivities.  For $5 per child, your kids can enjoy a day of hands-on experiments and take-home projects while you enjoy unlimited chili!

Magnolia State Bank will also offer a free hotdogs to children at the chili cook off who do not wish to eat chili.

Thank you to our incredible Sponsors and Producers!

Events like the Chili Cook Off just wouldn’t be possible without the support and backing of local businesses. These sponsorships help pay for the prizes, supplies and more! Their donations also help fund the Laurel Main Street Facade & Amenities grant and are directly responsible for the improvements you see in Downtown Laurel.

Our Signature Sponsor

The Chili Cook Off’s signature sponsor is Magnolia State Bank. We are so thankful for the financial support and helping hands they provide every year to make this event a successful one.

Additional Sponsors

The City of Laurel

Jones County Chamber of Commerce

Jones County Board of Supervisors

Sanderson Farms

Coca-cola United

Carl & Mandy BuchananMississippi PowerB Clean LLC, Mike Axton, The Gables, Southern Beverage

Our Producers

Event producers provide in-kind support of the event by providing products, services or advertising to make the event a reality. Thank you to WBBN B95 CountryiHeart Radio and SL100, WDAM, and Studio5Fifty for helping to organize the event and to Central Creativity for providing the children’s activities.

Join us February 9, 2019 in Downtown Laurel for the 8th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

It’s Getting “Chili” Downtown!

Prepare the Way for the 8th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

On Saturday, February 9, 2019, Downtown Laurel will come alive as the thrill of intense competition fuels the teams lining historic Central Avenue for the 8th annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off.  Join us for one of Laurel Main Street’s most popular events and expose your business (and your top secret chili recipe) to over 3,000 hungry customers!

Come early to watch the teams set up and prepare their recipes from scratch.  No pre-chopping or pre-cooking allowed!  Each team prepares and cooks their secret chili recipe right out in the open for all to watch. Judging begins at eleven, when our expert panel tastes each entry and decides who wins the $1,000 grand prize in each category.

For just $10, you can enjoy an “all-you-can-eat” bowl or for $25, enjoy a “bottomless” Carl Buchanan keepsake pottery bowl. Tasting begins at 11:00 a.m. and the winners are announced at 2:30 p.m. 

Compete for a $1,000 GRAND PRIZE

Is your signature chili the talk of the town? Does your organization, business or group have a team ready to face the competition during the 2019 Chili Cook Off? Here’s your chance to show off your favorite recipe and compete for our fabulous prizes, all while contributing to the continued growth and revitalization of our beautiful Downtown!

Prizes generously provided by Magnolia State Bank

1st place Traditional: $1000 & the traveling chili trophy

1st place Homestyle:  $1000 & the traveling chili pot trophy

People’s Choice: $200 & Hand-crafted pottery by Carl Buchanan

Spirit Tent Award: $200 & Hand-crafted pottery by Carl Buchanan

Assemble your team of 5 or less members, gather your ingredients (all chili must be cooked on site) and prepare to face the judges!

Forms & Information

Download the forms below and return them to Laurel Main Street at 409 Oak Street (on the 2nd floor of Lee’s Coffee and Tea) by Monday, February 4, 2019 and get ready to delight the crowds and defeat the competition on February 9th!

Judging

In order to ensure fairness, teams will be scored in five categories based on their anonymous submission for tasting. Judges will evaluate entries based on color, aroma, consistency, taste and aftertaste (or bite).

Grand prize winners will be chosen for two categories–Traditional and Homestyle–and will receive $1000 and a traveling trophy. May the best chili win!

Want to compete in this year’s cook off? Click HERE to download registration forms.

Sponsorship Opportunities

This ever-growing event is THE place to be this February and the SPONSORSHIP DEADLINE is January 25, 2019.

The benefits of sponsoring a fun, family-friendly event such as this are sure to reach far beyond the day itself. Enjoy positive exposure while providing local consumers with an experience they’re sure to remember – right here in Downtown Laurel!

Thank you to Magnolia State Bank for their 7th consecutive 5-Alarm Sponsorship! Their generous support is vital to the success of this popular event as they directly provide the funds for our phenomenal prizes and event marketing. Available sponsorship levels include:

$2,500 Blazing Sponsor

  • Business feature LMS event page/Facebook/newsletter
  • Free cook off team entry
  • Choice of space at event 
  • Logo on event poster 
  • Eight entry tickets for your guests 
  • Eight VIP Breakfast tickets

Become A Blazing Sponsor

$1000 Hot Sponsor

  • Business feature LMS event page/Facebook/newsletter
  • Free cook off team entry
  • Choice of space at event
  • Name on event poster
  • Six entry tickets for your guests
  • Six VIP Breakfast tickets

Become A Hot Sponsor

$500 Spicy Sponsor

  • Business name listed LMS event page/Facebook/newsletter
  • Name on event poster
  • Four entry tickets for your guests
  • Four VIP Breakfast tickets

Become A Spicy Sponsor

Events like the Chili Cook Off just wouldn’t be possible without the support and backing of local businesses. These sponsorships help pay for the prizes, supplies and more! Their donations also help fund the Laurel Main Street Facade & Amenities grant and are directly responsible for the improvements you see in Downtown Laurel.

Please remit sponsorship payment to: Laurel Main Street, PO Box 1256, Laurel, MS 39441
Memo: Chili Cook Off 2019 Sponsorship
DEADLINE: January 25, 2019

Questions?  Contact the Chili Cook Off Chair, Robby Scruggs 601.319.0098 or Laurel Main Street, 601.433.3255.

Join us February 9, 2019 in Downtown Laurel for the 8th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

Laurel Main Street 2018: A Snapshot of Success

For centuries, Main Streets have been the cultural, historic, economic, civic, and emotional hearts of our towns and cities. We’re proud to be part of the movement that brings these things back to life in Laurel!  The Main Street organization was founded upon the principle that sustainable, comprehensive transformation of a downtown or commercial district doesn’t happen overnight or with one “big fix.”  Laurel Main Street has been at work since 2007 to preserve our historic buildings while revitalizing our local economy.  However, the goal of our work goes much deeper than simply creating a beautiful downtown district with businesses and activities to enjoy… We want to provide a solid sense of ownership in the downtown and core commercial district.

Recruiting

Since its inception, Laurel Main Street has been recruiting business owners and private investors to the downtown area.  Because of those efforts, our downtown has seen a private re-investment of over $40 MILLION dollars. When you attend or are an exhibitor at Laurel Main Street events, such as Loblolly Festival or Touch a Truck, you’re directly contributing to the LMS Façade and Amenities Grant fund.  In the past 36 months, Laurel Main Street has awarded $54,556.94 in façade grants to downtown businesses.  The LMS Façade & Amenities grant was created to help downtown business owners refresh and update their buildings.  There have been 19 façade improvements in downtown Laurel in the past two years.  That’s almost one building a month!  Some of the buildings who received a facelift thanks to a LMS Façade & Amenities grant include The Boutique on Central, Mimmo’s, The Loft on Central, and the shops at Sawmill — Quarter Century, Studio R3, Goodness Gracious, Pause Espresso Cafe, and Bella Bella.

Fundraising

Laurel Main Street has raised over $50,000 to improve the downtown area.  The projects are too numerous to list, but here are a few you might have noticed: painted murals on the Laurel-Jones County Library and the Marcus Building, the addition of 15 trash receptacles, 2 bike racks, and 4 pet waste disposal stations, as well as the string lights above the streets.  Through partnerships with MDOT and The City of Laurel, Laurel Main Street was able to add way finding signage downtown to make it more tourist-friendly and walkable.  Thanks to many generous donations to Laurel Main Street, we have been able to clean up and repurpose Trustmark Park into Trustmark Art Park for children and families to enjoy.  We have also assisted in the transformation of the Oak Street Pocket Park into a lovely spot for eating lunch, taking an outdoor break, or just walking through to get downtown!  

Facts

In 2017, Laurel Main Street proposed a Social District Ordinance that would allow patrons to sip & stroll through the streets of downtown Laurel.  We appreciate the Mississippi legislature and The City of Laurel for this ordinance.  The adoption of the Social District Ordinance has increased shopping, dining, and the overall enjoyment of downtown.  We’re more than family fun and festivals. The Main Street movement is the leading voice for economic development and community revitalization of historic districts across the country.

New businesses in downtown Laurel: 34 businesses in 3 years

Apartments in downtown Laurel: 29          Vacancies: 0

Vacant buildings in 2011: 30          Vacant buildings today: 8

Awards and Accolades

Since 2009, Laurel Main Street has racked up 19 Mississippi Main Street Association Downtown Revitalization awards! Did you know that Laurel Main Street has been awarded the Best Adaptive Re-use Project by MMSA three times?  The rehabilitation and reuse of the First National Bank Building, Slowboat Brewing Co., and The Burton Building are shining examples of what the Main Street initiative is all about! Small-scale development and adaptive reuse go hand-in-hand. The creative and curated nature of small-scale developments allows seemingly “unusable” buildings to be repurposed into unique places with entirely new formats that bring unique focus to neighborhoods and add new value.

Laurel Main Street has also been recognized by the MMSA for outstanding capital campaigns, public improvement projects, business retention and recruitment, and overall community transformation, just to name a few!

Appreciation

We are always thankful for the gifts we receive through the generosity of our community.  Leadership Jones County and Future Leaders of Jones County participants have contributed to our downtown in so many meaningful ways!  Thank you for the picnic tables, garbage cans, Imagination Playground, and the beautiful mural at Central Creativity!

The Main Street movement grew out of a recognition that a community is only as strong as its core.  This approach has proven over and over again that a small number of committed people can make a big difference in a community.

As we look forward to the new year, we are filled with excitement over the things to come.  We want you to know that we hear you loud and clear: you want MORE live music, MORE restaurants, and MORE things to do downtown and it’s our goal to continue recruiting reputable business owners who can deliver what you want.  After all, Laurel Main Street succeeds when small business owners succeed.  The future belongs to downtowns!

December Downtown: Bring on the FUN!

There’s no doubt that Downtown Laurel is a special place, but it shines especially bright during the Christmas season.  Whether you’re admiring the meticulously decorated store windows or taking a stroll under the majestic oaks of 5th Avenue, we invite you to breathe in the magic of the holidays.  Laurel Main Street invites you to fill up, hang out, and kick back while you savor the joy of small-town Christmas.

Make Spirits Bright

Art Class at Lauren Rogers Museum of Art — Thursday, December 18th from 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. — Grades K5-6th. Participants will make a variety of handmade Christmas tree ornaments and a Christmas art project. While you’re in the neighborhood, enjoy the charming preserved and restored homes lining Laurel’s brick-paved 5th Avenue.

Enjoy an integrated retail & DIY experience at HAND+made by Clairmont & Co. On Wednesday, December 12th and Saturday, December 22nd you’ll enjoy a special Mom + Me Craft & Story Time.  Looking for a girl’s night out?  Get your friends together for Corks + Crafts on December 14th.

Also on December 14th is Holiday Date Night at The Gift Shop at Oak Street Place.  Have dinner or dessert at Lee’s Coffee and Tea, then shop for Christmas presents! Get 20% off at the Gift Shop with your purchase at Lee’s. Lee’s full menu is available, and we hear it’s board game night, too!

What Fun it is to Ride & Sing

The 2018 Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour is making a stop in the City Beautiful again this year! The illuminated vehicle has become a global advertising icon and symbol of holiday happiness since first gracing the TV airwaves nearly two decades ago. The real-life Coca-Cola Christmas Trucks spread holiday cheer throughout Mississippi during the month of December. Once the sun has set, you are invited to enjoy an incredible after-dark experience, as the truck lights up! The Coca-Cola Christmas Truck will be set up on the 400 block of Central Avenue on Thursday, December 20th from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Take pictures with the Coca-Cola Christmas Truck and Santa,  and enjoy free giveaways and more!

Contact Sweet Somethings Bakery to book a carriage ride through downtown.

Oh Come, Let Us Adore Him

The First-Trinity Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir will present their annual Lessons & Carols service on Sunday, December 16th at 6:00 p.m. This year’s service will include choral works by Francois Poulenc, Leo Sowerby, Paul Manz, and Mack Wilberg. This is always a wonderful evening of sacred music and childcare is provided.

First Baptist Church of Laurel will present “The Glory of Christmas” with their Celebration Choir & Orchestra, along with a cast of students, children, shepherds, & wise men celebrate.  Performances are scheduled for Saturday, December 15th at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 16th at 6:00 p.m.

The Agape Church offers three opportunities to hear the message of Christmas in music.  Saturday, December 22nd at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 23rd at 10:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The cost is absolutely FREE but, due to limited space, you must reserve your seats.

Discover the Magic of Enchanting Downtown Laurel

On December 21nd, from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. our downtown merchants will host a very special Christmas after-hours event

HAND+made– Christmas story read every 30 min, refreshments provided, manger scene craft, & discounts in store

Laurel Mercantile & Scotsman General Store– Santa’s workshop

Lott Furniture & Laurel Leaf– Nativity in Maker’s Alley, refreshments provided

Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar– Gingerbread men cookie decorating kits available for $5

Allie’s on Magnolia– Hot chocolate bar, sales in store

Guild & Gentry– Refreshments provided, live music

Loblolly Boutique & Crescent Line Toys– Glamping in Trustmark Art Park

Adam Trest Home– Discounts in store

Southern Antiques– Photos w/Snoopy, DIY Charlie Brown Christmas Tree

Patina’s– refreshments provided, sales in store

YWCO– Cookies w/ Mrs. Claus

Lee’s Coffee & Tea / Gift Shop at Oak Street Place– Live music featuring Harmonia

Sass & Class Boutique– Reindeer food

Peddlers Junktion– DIY vintage inspired stocking available for $5, door prizes, sales in store

New Look– Snowman ornament craft available for $6

Razme’s Party Supplies– Pictures w/Santa

Cosmic Deli– Special dessert: Christmas cookie cheesecake

Jack & Jill’s Consignment Boutique– OPEN

J Parker– OPEN

The Pearl Diner– OPEN

Sweet Somethings Bakery– OPEN

Pause Coffee & Espresso Bar– OPEN

Boutique on Central– OPEN

The Knight Butcher– OPEN

Bella Bella– OPEN

Fill Up, Hang Out, Kick Back

The Pearl Diner – home cooking that you don’t have to cook at home!  Blue plate lunches are offered Tuesday – Friday beginning at 11:00 a.m.  The Pearl Diner is located on the corner of Oak and Magnolia Streets in the former Burton’s Jewelry building.

The Knight Butcher – Lunch is served at Laurel’s only full-service butcher shop daily from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Be sure to check their Facebook page to see their daily lunch specials.  Stop by Monday – Saturday between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to pick up gourmet meats, delicious homemade fudge, and The Knight Butcher’s famous jerky!

Lee’s Coffee & Tea – Lee’s is a downtown favorite with gourmet coffees, organic teas, soups, paninis, and more.  Enjoy local art while you rest up from your adventures.  Lee’s is open Monday – Thursday from 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 7:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Sundays from NOON – 5:00 p.m.

Sweet Somethings Bakery – This family-owned bakery and ice cream shop on Central Avenue offers something to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth.  Stop by and get your sugar fix any time Monday – Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Shug’s Cookie Dough and Candy Bar – delectable treats to sit and savor or take them to-go are available at Shug’s!  This gourmet cookie dough bar provides sweet treats for all tastes including traditional childhood favorite candies (Jelly Belly! Peach Rings! M&Ms!) to more refined and grown up treats (truffles galore!) all sold by the pound. Shug’s is open Monday – Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Friday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Sunday 2:00 – 6:00 p.m.

Mimmo’s Ristorante Pizzeria – Laurel’s newest restaurant is open for lunch and dinner!  Enjoy traditional Italian food and wines as well as brick oven pizza.  They’re open Monday – Friday from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 4:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The Loft – The Loft has become a downtown staple and serves dinner Tuesday – Saturday beginning at 5:00 p.m.  Enjoy casual dining with indoor and outdoor seating.  Perfect for groups, children, parties and more.

Slowboat Brewing Company – Slowboat Brewing Company is a brewer owned and family operated micro-brewery in historic downtown Laurel.  Their primary focus is small batch artisan styles, including Farmhouse, Wild, Belgian style, Barrel-aged, experimental ales, and an ever-evolving portfolio of popular American craft beer styles. Stop in for samples, tours, trivia, live music and more! For hours and entertainment lineups, visit them on Facebook or Instagram!

Cafe La Fleur — Café La Fleur is up and running once again!  Stop by to have some of your old favorites or try something new at this locally owned New Orleans style eatery.

More Ways to Make it Merry

Enjoy a day full of Christmas festivities at Landrum’s Country!  The Christmas Candlelight Tour at Landrum’s Country on December 16th is sure to bring out the holiday cheer in all who attend.

We encourage you to enjoy all the locally owned stores and restaurants, make a memory, start a tradition, and most of all, make your holidays merry and bright!

 

 

Tagged christmasdowntownHome Towni live in laurelLaurelLaurel Main Streetlaurel mslive musicshop local

The Annual Downtown Laurel Christmas Tree Lighting

If you take a drive around the historic district in the coming weeks, there’s one truth you won’t be able to miss – we love Christmas in Downtown Laurel!

From the shining Christmas trees decorating each home on 6th Avenue, the wreaths lining the streets of downtown and our favorite display of all, the City of Laurel’s official Christmas tree in Pinehurst Park.  It’s clear that we celebrate our favorite season like no one else, and nothing says Christmas in Laurel more than the official lighting of the city Christmas tree.  We would love for you to celebrate this Christmas tradition with us!

The 2018 Laurel Christmas Tree Lighting

Thursday, November 29th | beginning at 5:30 PM

Sponsored by BancorpSouth, the City of Laurel and Laurel Main Street

5:30 p.m. – First Baptist Church of Laurel Children’s Choirs — Jonathan & Cindy McKenzie, Directors

5:45 p.m. – Students of Laurel Music Lessons – Alexis Frenette & Joshua Rooks, Directors

6:00 p.m. – Laurel High School Concert Choir – LaTisha Hamilton, Director

The official welcome will be delivered by Lew Yoder, president of Laurel Main Street, followed by a special greeting by Mayor Johnny Magee. Soon after, the park will spring to life as Seth Assink, President of BancorpSouth, lights our beloved Downtown Christmas Tree.

After the tree lighting, enjoy the festivities at the Laurel-Jones County Library Open House. Bring the kids to meet Santa, enjoy arts and crafts, and free refreshments.

Many of our downtown merchants will extend their hours for this event so be sure to stick around, shop awhile, and enjoy a stroll under the lights of beautiful downtown Laurel.