Time to Turn up the Heat!

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, Downtown Laurel will welcome the hungry masses for our second Crawfest!  Teams from across the south will bring their top secret crawfish recipes to compete in the Community Bank Downtown Crawfest.  We are incredibly excited to partner with the Sertoma Club of Laurel to bring another fun and exciting event to downtown!

Know Before You Go

At 8:00 a.m. the teams will begin setting up and decorating their booths along Front Street.  Feel free to come early, watch the teams cook and maybe figure out their secret ingredient! All of the teams will prepare their recipes from scratch as attendees look on. The event officially begins at 11:00 a.m. when Lloyd “Hurricane” Munn & the Forecasters take the stage.  For just $15 per person, you can taste as much crawfish crawfest crowdand fixins’ as your belly can handle.  For $30 per person, you’ll enjoy five pounds of crawfish from the Craw Daddy Shack, plus all the tastings from our teams. Children 12 and under eat free.  Upon entry, everyone will receive one ticket to vote for People’s Choice.  This is easily one of the most coveted awards of any competition so be sure to vote for your favorite!  No crawfish can be served until the judging begins at noon.  For those who can’t or don’t eat crawfish, Chick-fil-a will be on-site with options for purchase.  We suggest bringing cash.  Checks will not be accepted as payment for entry.  However, if you forget or run out of cash, an ATM is located at 401 Central Ave. at the Laurel Welcome Center.

Please note:  Although we love our furry friends, we ask that you leave your pets at home.  Thank you!

We’ll also be “splitting the pot” for a chance to win a cash prize!  Purchase one ticket for $10 or 5 tickets for $40 at Community Bank or at Crawfest.  You do not have to be present to win.

At noon, our expert panel of judges will taste each entry and decide who wins the prize in each category.  Winners will be announced at 2:00 p.m.  All prizes have been generously provided by Community Bank.

Traditional Boil Award: $500 and a large platter by Mandy Buchanan

Covfefe (add-ins) Award: $500 and a large platter by Mandy Buchanan

People’s Choice: $100 and small platter by Mandy Buchanan

Spirit/Decorations: $100 and small platter by Mandy Buchanan

The Downtown Crawfest officially ends at 4:00 p.m., but we encourage you to stay downtown, eat out, and enjoy the after-party and live music at Slowboat Brewing!

Additional Food and Drink Options

While most of the south is crawfish crazy at this time of year, we understand you might want some other options to cool down your mouth.  We’re happy to announce that Chick-fil-a of Laurel will be on-site!

Southern Beverage will be on-hand with your favorite Budweiser products and your hometown favorite, Slowboat Beer.  If you plan on purchasing or drinking beer at this event, please remember to bring your I.D. 

Be sure to stop by the Laurel Main Street concession trailer to purchase your Crawfest T-shirt!  Laurel Main Street will also be selling Coca-Cola products and water.

Kids’ Activities

Thanks to the generous donation of Leadership Jones County and Team “Fours of Nature” the Imagination Playground blocks will be available for kids to get creative and play all day!

Thank you to our incredible Sponsors and Producers!

Events like the Downtown Crawfest 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.  Additionally, this event will the benefit the Sertoma Club of Laurel whose mission is to enhance the lives of those who have Speech or Hearing impairments.crawfest serve

It’s Almost Time for Touch a Truck!

Some Like it LOUD!

The 6th annual Touch a Truck event will be on Saturday, March 30 from 9am – 2pm in the parking lot beside the Laurel Jones County Library.

Touch a Truck is a fun, family event that offers hands-on opportunities for children (and children-at-heart) to EXPLORE, CLIMB and TOUCH trucks, emergency response vehicles, heavy machinery and other equipment. Kids have the opportunity to get behind the wheel and rub elbows with their hometown heroes, while exploring their favorite vehicles including big rigs, fire engines, police cars, construction trucks, tractors and much more. So put your imagination in gear and go!

Know Before You Go

We understand that some like it loud and others don’t.  That’s why we’ll have two opportunities for those with sensitive hearing to enjoy this event.  We will observe no horn hour from 10am – 11am and from 1pm – 2pm.

This is an outdoor event, so dress accordingly and be prepared to climb!  For the safety of our guests and our furry friends, pets are not allowed at Touch a Truck.

Tickets are $5 each at the event.  Family 4-pack tickets can be purchased in advance for $15.  Children 2 and under are FREE.

New This Year

We are thrilled to add high-flying fun to our event this year with hot air balloon rides!  The hot air balloon will be stationed in the green space just off I-59 on the corner of Leontyne Price Blvd.  Start your adventure and pay admission here, then truck on down the road to the big event! While Touch a Truck is a rain or shine event, hot air balloon rides will only be available if weather conditions permit.  As always, the safety of our attendees is our top priority.

TAT map

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

thank you

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Touch a Truck – Sponsors & Exhibitors Wanted!

Touch a Truck provides a unique opportunity for children to explore vehicles of all types – public service, emergency, utility, construction, transportation, delivery and “fun & flashy” trucks – all in one place.  Personnel will tell about the equipment and allow “hands on” exploration.

Be a Touch A Truck Exhibitor!

Show off your trucks or equipment and engage your business in the community!  Be a Touch a Truck exhibitor! We have had four amazing years of Touch a Truck and we can’t wait or this loud, energetic horsepower-filled event. It’s a time to showcase vehicles that are tough and tactical, fun and flashy, and represent our heroes and helpers. This event is a wonderful way to build community and to show kids the people and machines that work hard.  We need trucks, ATV’s, etc. (branded for fun or sport), cars, boats, emergency vehicles and rigs of every shape and size. That sense of wonder and respect that lights up a child’s face when they see something incredible will make your day and make you proud of the work you do, too.

REGISTRATION DEADLINE: MARCH 8, 2019

Exhibitor Info At-a-Glance

  • FREE to exhibit
  • $50 refundable deposit
  • Vehicle attendants will have lunch and facilities provided at the event
  • We strongly encourage promotional materials appropriate for children, such as banners, stickers and giveaways.
  • If applicable, tickets to the event (for company employees, guests, etc.) will be provided before the event.
  • The Touch a Truck® Exhibitor Form, Payment, Letter of Agreement and Certificate of Liability Insurance must be received prior to the event in order to participate.

Types of Vehicles Needed

  • Unique/Rare/Novelty (Limos, monster trucks, antique trucks)
  • Construction (Cement & dump trucks, cement rollers, etc)
  • Emergency (Ambulances, sheriff & police vehicles, fire trucks & equipment, etc)
  • Farm Equipment (Big tractors, plows, etc)
  • Commercial (Postal, delivery, 18-wheelers, etc)
  • Military (All types)
  • Recreational (4-wheelers, motorcycles, etc)

 

 

 

 

Be a Touch A Truck Sponsor!

If you don’t have a vehicle that your company can show off but you want to contribute to the success of this great event, you can join the fun as an event sponsor! This Laurel Main Street event is promoted to families in the Pine Belt area. With a large turnout expected, the event promises to provide great exposure for your business. Your support will help us continue to show our love for Laurel’s downtown. Sponsorships allow us to produce high quality events and the ability to promote these events to a wide audience. One of the tools Laurel Main Street uses to move us towards our vision of a vibrant and sustainable Downtown Laurel is beautification. In years past, we have made Laurel more welcoming with direction signage, murals, paint, plants and lighting. Sponsors and exhibitors will not only contribute to a fun and educational event, but will also help to support the projects and initiatives of Laurel Main Street.

Sponsors may bring banners, signage, decorations and giveaways to promote their business!

 

Thank You for a Record-Setting Chili Cook Off!

Brutal wind in the early morning hours didn’t keep the crowds away from the 8th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off.  In fact, this year’s chili cook off set a new record!  We had a record number of teams to enter this year, which brought record-breaking crowds downtown!  The clouds and wind that plagued our teams during setup gave way to a beautiful blue-skied day and gave folks the perfect reason to get out of the house and get downtown! 

Welcome to the Winner’s Circle!

This year’s teams brought their A-game to the 8th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!  Here’s a recap of the winners:

People’s Choice

Exchange Club

Pictured: Team Free Chili Team Captain: Andrew Cardwell. Jim Rasberry. Dustin Cooke. Peter Biglane. Nick Roll.

$200 cash prize and Carl Buchanan pottery

Spirit/Tent Decoration

Ellis & Walters Dental Clinic a.k.a. the “Molar Mafia”

ellis and walters

Pictured: Terry Powell, Heather Brown, Lew Yoder, Mayor Johnny Magee, Dorthy Stancill, Vanessa Jefcoat, Vickie Hatfield, and Dana Blackledge.

$200 cash prize and Carl Buchanan pottery

Homestyle Category:

3rd – Mo’ Smoke

2nd – Chili Wild

Pictured: Team Captain: Richard Williams. Tammy Williams. Kyle Kramer. Keri Kramer.

Winner – Fat Kid Rock

 

Pictured: Heather Brown, Magnolia State Bank. Mayor Johnny Magee. Lee Yoder, LMS President. Kim and Blaine Holifield. Jeff and Tiva Barrett.

$1,000 cash prize and chili pot trophy

Traditional Category: 

3rd – Chili Ray Cyrus

2nd – Three Amigos

three amigos

Pictured: Team Captain, Pete Blakeney. Dewayne Rayner. Jason Roberts.

Winner – Ring of Fire

ring of fire

Pictured: Russ Griffin. Adam Sauls. Hoss Nasajpour. Paul Read. Carl Buchanan.

$1,000 cash prize and chili pepper trophy

It took a village of people to make this event a success and we couldn’t have done it without them!

Special thanks to our event chair, Robby Scruggs, for his work in making this event such a success each year.  Robby, and his wife, Angie, open studio5fifty for Laurel Main Street many times each year.  Their staff is always courteous and helpful and we simply can’t thank them enough!

We also owe a huge thanks to the following:

Laurel Main Street board members – for the countless hours you put into making each endeavor we undertake a successful one.

Chili Cook Off Judges – for selflessly giving of your time and taste buds in the name of chili.

Laurel Fire Department & Laurel Police Department – for keeping our volunteers and attendees safe, for being on call, and for going above and beyond your duties.

The City of Laurel Parks and Recreation Department – for your assistance in preparing the downtown area for the influx of visitors.

Carl and Mandy Buchanan – for the beautiful pottery that we awarded and for the “bottomless” bowls that we look forward to adding to our collection each year.

Jim Thornhill – DJ extraordinaire – thank you for keeping the tunes going and making the atmosphere so fun!

Diamond Productions – you guys are top notch!  The video screen and live footage during the chili cook off elevated this event beyond our expectations and we can’t wait to work with you again at Crawfest in April!

Community Volunteers – for the hours of service you provide selling tickets and t-shirts and all you do to make Laurel Main Street events run smoothly.

Of course, this event wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of Magnolia State Bank.  Not only do they sponsor this event each year, but the bank staff also volunteers countless hours in preparation for the event and on the day of the event as well.  This year, Central Creativity opened their facility to host indoor kids’ educational and creative activities too.  We are so grateful for your partnership!

Our main street volunteers don’t get to rest on their laurels now; they’re rolling on to our next big event, Touch A Truck! Save the date for this wonderful family event — March 30, 2019.

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!