Loblolly Festival: Things to Know Before You Go

It’s the most wonderful time of the year — It’s time for Loblolly Festival!  This year’s festival is one you won’t soon forget and here are some tips to help you enjoy Loblolly Festival, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran.  The Loblolly Festival is one of Laurel’s biggest events with over 12,000 people attending annually, so lace up your walking shoes, it’s festival time!

Beat the Crowds:

The festival officially starts at 9am, so if you want to get first pick of the merchandise or avoid the crowds, come early.

Get a T-Shirt While You Can:

Stop by the Laurel Main Street trailer, which will be station on West Oak St., and purchase a commemorative Laurel Main Street 10 year anniversary t-shirt or a Loblolly Festival t-shirt.  Make this one of your first stops because these shirts will go fast!

Wear Your Walking Shoes:

Loblolly Festival covers almost all of the central business district of downtown Laurel and includes over 120 vendors, crafters, performers, and activities. You’re bound to see a lot of people you know and some you forgot you knew!

Check the map and entertainment schedule:

When you arrive be sure to pick up a map.  It will help you get the lay of the land, and if you’re a strategic shopper, this will definitely make it easier for you to find any specific vendors you came to see.

 

Bring cash:

Some vendors accept credit cards, but not all do.  There is an ATM located downtown at the Laurel Welcome Center inside the First National Bank building as well as BancorpSouth.

Be sure to check out the brick and mortar merchants too:

Most downtown retail stores are open during the festival and many offer sales, specials, and live music.

Check the weather:

Loblolly Festival is a rain or shine event so check the weather and dress accordingly.  The Laurel YWCO will be open and available to the community from 10am – 2pm during the Loblolly Festival.  Come in to cool off and enjoy your lunch in the tea room! 

Sip & Stroll:

The walkable downtown area comprises a social district, which allows downtown patrons to “sip and stroll” as long as their beverages are in a “to-go” cup.  Open container laws are still in effect.  Please drink responsibly.

Scarecrow Harvest

The Scarecrow Harvest is a time when our downtown Laurel community comes alive with colorful and creative life-size scarecrows. We invite businesses, non-profit organizations, schools, civic groups, families and individuals to design and display their own whimsical scarecrows.  Anyone is welcome to create a scarecrow and join the fun!

Design and display your scarecrow in front of your business, hiding behind a bush, leaning against a street light, washing a window or even climbing a tree. The event is absolutely free and only requires your creativity! We ask that all scarecrows be installed by Friday, October 4, 2019, in time for judging and the Loblolly Festival on Saturday, October 5, 2019.  Please make sure your scarecrow is tied down and secured so goblins and storms can’t take it away! Scarecrows will remain on view through the month of October and should be removed by Friday, November 1, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judging for the top three scarecrow designs will be done on the Friday afternoon prior to the Loblolly Festival and winners announced during the Festival.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with this season! 

This contest is hosted by Laurel Main Street, for questions or concerns, please contact Judi Holifield, info@laurelmainstreet.com or your block ambassador.

Wine Down Downtown

We’re introducing a new monthly event: Wine Down Downtown!  One Friday each month, we will host a wine tasting and shopping event from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. with downtown merchants and restaurants staying open late.  We look forward to the fun and fellowship this will provide our community and the opportunities this will provide our merchants.

Important Information

Please note: We are only serving tastes — equivalent to about a 2 ounce pour.  Pours will be limited to 2 pours per person, per location.  Wine will only be poured into Laurel Main Street wine tumblers.

How do I get a Laurel Main Street wine tumbler?

The Laurel Main Street tent will be set up at the intersection of Central Ave. and Magnolia St. and will serve as the entry point for the event.  Stop by the tent to purchase your wine tumbler ($15, cash only) and pick up an event map. Don’t forget your ID!  LMS volunteers will check IDs at the event tent.  Only those 21 and older are allowed to purchase wine tumblers. If you forget cash, there are two ATMs downtown: Laurel Welcome Center and BancorpSouth.

Where should I park?

There are several events happening downtown this weekend, so we suggest parking on the outskirts of downtown.

What about the kids?

Kids are welcome! Loblolly/Crescent Line Toys will be hosting children’s activities. Our two downtown parks will also serve as a place for children to enjoy during the festivities.  For the safety of all the children, we ask that they be supervised in the parks.

What if I don’t want wine?

Folks that don’t drink wine or don’t want to participate in the tasting are still welcome! We encourage everyone to come! Beer/Liquor/non-alcoholic drinks can be purchased from several downtown restaurants as well as Slowboat Brewery. The 5000, The Knight Butcher, Mimmo’s, Cafe Lafleur, Slowboat Brewery, The Loft, Shug’s, Lee’s Coffee and Tea, and Scotsman General Store will also be serving various drinks besides wine.

Where’s the closest restroom?

We will not have any public port-a-potties for this event, however, Shugs, Laurel Mercantile, and Scotsman General Store are generously providing public restrooms for this event.

Special thanks to our volunteers, downtown business owners, supporters, and sponsors.  We appreciate the donations provided by Community Bank and Doc’s Eastside Wine and Liquor.

“The One” Awards

Once a year the Laurel Main Street organization honors members of our downtown community for their commitment to the Main Street cause and their dedication to our community with “The One” Awards.  The awards were named for a phrase that pops up again and again during brainstorming or event planning sessions:

“Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of THE ONEs who are doing it!” 

We celebrate the dreamers, the doers, and THE ONES whose desire to improve their community is evident in all their pursuits.Attendees enjoying dinner at Laurel Main Street's annual awards banquet.

LMS President, Lew Yoder, welcomes attendees to the annual awards banquet.

Our attendees enjoyed great food and fellowship at Studio5Fifty with those who share their affinity for downtown Laurel.  Awards were created by local calligrapher and artist Jade Yoder of Paper Studio and were presented by Laurel Main Street President, Lew Yoder.

Downtown Business of the Year

Wayne & Melissa Bryant, owners of The Loblolly Boutique & Crescent Line Toys were named Downtown Business of the Year.  They are THE ONES who have worked tirelessly to create an engaging and inviting atmosphere inside their store, and even on the sidewalk in front!  Their work in the downtown community is widespread and we appreciate their dedication to downtown Laurel and Laurel Main Street!  Whether they are rallying downtown merchants, creating the most magical scene in Trustmark Art Park for The Magic of Downtown at Christmas, the Bryants have shown that their love for downtown knows no bounds.

award recipients accepting their award

The children of Wayne & Melissa Bryant accepting the award for Downtown Business of the Year on their behalf.

THE ONE Award

THE ONE Award is presented each year to Laurel Main Street’s top volunteer.  This year, Carl & Mandy Buchanan received THE ONE Award.  The Buchanans are fixtures of the downtown scene and are always ready to lend a hand.  At Main Street events, you’ll often find Mandy helping out in the t-shirt trailer, but their real dedication shines in their artwork.  For years, attendees to the Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off have had the opportunity to purchase one of Carl’s “bottomless” chili bowls.  These one-of-a-kind bowls have somewhat of a cult following, with people from around the world asking if they can purchase one and have it shipped to them.  Carl and Mandy also create the awards for the Chili Cook Off and Crawfest — unique platters, which serve as a reminder of a wonderful day in downtown Laurel.  The Buchanans serve with a cheerful heart and are always on board to lend a hand or throw an extra bowl in the kiln.  Thank you for your service to Laurel Main Street!

award recipients accepting their award

Carl & Mandy Buchanan receive “The One” award for Laurel Main Street volunteers of the year.

 

 

 

All photos property of Robby Scruggs and Scruggs Photography.

#GetDowntown This Thursday!

The temperatures are rising and school’s out for summer! Everyone is looking forward to the longer days and activities that summer brings. A favorite summertime event in Laurel is “Downtown Thursday,” a series of family-friendly evenings every Thursday night beginning May 30 and lasting until June 27. Friends from all over Mississippi and beyond are welcome to attend this exciting, fun-filled season of fresh produce, live entertainment, movies, and community.

The evenings will kick off with a Farmers Market from 5-8 p.m. and will continue with a family-friendly movie at The Backlot. Each night will feature live music on the Coca-Cola Main Stage outside of Southern Antiques, along with great food and endless fun.

The Laurel Farmers Market

The Laurel Farmers Market is definitely not your usual farmers market! It offers a street fair environment with something different going on each week, with kids’ activities, food trucks, and live music! At its new location on North Magnolia Street, the Laurel Farmers Market will be open for business from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. under the lights of downtown. Aside from stocking up on fruits, vegetables, and an assortment of homemade foods, visitors to this market can also stop by the many merchants along Magnolia Street and the entire downtown. This seasonal market attracts local farmers, gardeners, artisans, and craftsmen, resulting in an impressive variety of merchandise. Check out the Laurel Farmers Market for yourself every Thursday starting May 30 – through June 27.

If you’re interested in becoming a vendor at the Laurel Farmers Market, click here to register.

Farmers Market Entertainment Line-up

entertainment lineup

 

Downtown Movie Night

Downtown Movie Night is a highly anticipated summertime event and it gets bigger and better each year! Join us in The Backlot at the end of Magnolia Street after the Farmer’s Market for family-friendly movies under the stars.

movie line up

 

These fantastic events would not be possible without signature sponsor, Sunbelt Federal Credit Union. Laurel Main Street is proud to partner with The Agape Church and Sunbelt FCU to continue bringing Downtown Thursday fun to Laurel!