It’s Time for the 9th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

On Saturday, February 8, 2020, Downtown Laurel will once again welcome hungry customers and 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. 

Early in the morning, teams will begin setting up and decorating their booths along Central Avenue.  All of the teams will prepare their recipes from scratch as attendees look on. The event officially begins at NOON. 

For just $10, you can enjoy an “all-you-can-eat” bowl.  For $25, enjoy a “bottomless” Carl Buchanan keepsake pottery bowl.  This year, skip the line and purchase your tickets in advance! Visit www.eventbrite.com to get your tickets before the big day. 

Our expert panel of judges will taste each entry and decide who wins the $1,000 prize in each category. We’ll reveal our taste masters soon!

Think you’ve got what it takes for total chili domination? Click here to enter your team!

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.

Join us February 8, 2020 in Downtown Laurel for the 9th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

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What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

The 1920s was a decade of prosperity and dissipation, and of jazz bands, bootleggers, raccoon coats, bathtub gin, flappers, flagpole sitters, and marathon dancers, and in a few short weeks, the streets of downtown Laurel will be filled with revelers welcoming the “Roaring 20s” back to Laurel.

In the 1920s, Laurel was a city on the move. The Eastman-Gardiner Lumber Company was booming and Laurel was known as the Yellow Pine Capital of the World. The sawmills were shipping out one million board feet of lumber daily on rail car. People were moving to town for jobs at the newly formed Masonite Corporation and visitors and residents alike enjoyed going to the picture show at the newly constructed Arabian Theatre.

The inaugural Downtown Countdown is a free event held in the heart of Downtown Laurel. Beer and Champagne will be served, as well as food from food trucks. Some of your favorite downtown restaurants will also be open during the festivities: Lee’s Coffee & Tea, Slow Boat Brewing Co., and The Loft on Central.

VIP Area

The VIP tent will be in front of Mimmo’s Ristorante Pizzeria and will be open from 6:00 p.m. until the end of the event. Guests will enjoy exclusive live entertainment, seating, firework show viewing, refreshments by The Gables, a fully stocked cash bar, casino games, a cigar bar by Guild & Gentry, private restrooms, and premium parking. Our theme for the Downtown Countdown VIP area is “Roaring into the 20s,” so get creative and dress to impress! Click here to purchase VIP tickets for $100 each. Please note, the VIP area is for those 21 and up only.

On the Main Stage

Live entertainment is brought to you by our platinum sponsor, Howard Industries. Red & the Revelers is a collection of musicians from Mobile, AL and the Gulf Coast, and they’re sure to delight with their mixture of Americana and Deep South Soul. Emerald Empire from Birmingham, Alabama will follow with their high energy performances of the songs you know and love.

Be sure to stay until midnight when we lower our custom made 70 foot Pinecone and for a spectacular fireworks display! This dazzling display would not be possible without the creative team at Headrick Signs & Graphics and the generous sponsorship of Bancorp South.

For the Kids

The children’s area will be located on the 400 block of N. Magnolia Street and will feature music, games, activities, and face painting. At 8:00 p.m. there will be a kids countdown by Ben and Erin Napier of HGTV Home Town, a balloon drop, and a mini firework show. The appreciate the generous sponsorship of Shug’s Cookie Dough and Candy Bar, Crescent Line Toys and The Loblolly Boutique for the children’s activities.

Event Schedule

6:00 p.m.

Food Truck and Beer Service begins on Oak Street

Kids Area activities begin on the 400 block of North Magnolia Street

8:00 p.m.

Kids balloon drop and firework show

Red & the Revelers begin on the Main Stage

9:00 p.m.

Emerald Empire on the Main Stage

11:30-11:55 p.m.

Champagne Service

12:00 a.m.

Pinecone Drop

Firework Show

Midnight Performance

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.

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.

Coming Attractions: Downtown Thursday!

Agape Church, in partnership with Laurel Main Street, proudly presents Downtown Thursday! This is the premier community and entertainment event of the summer sponsored by Sunbelt Federal Credit Union! Downtown Thursday combines Farmers Market and Downtown Movie Night into a Thursday Night experience for all ages. This year’s season begins on Thursday, May 30 and will continue EVERY THURDAY through June 27, 2019.

The LAUREL FARMERS MARKET is back from 5pm-8pm on the 300 block of North Magnolia Street in front of our downtown merchants like Adam Trest Home, Southern Antiques, JParker Reclaimed, Café LaFleur, The Loblolly Boutique and many more. The Laurel Farmers Market is not only a great place to purchase local produce and goods, but it is a place to enjoy the day with family and friends. The Coca-Cola Stage will feature live music acts with a variety of genres country, r&b, rock, jazz and more! The Laurel Farmers Market is a rain or shine event.

“We are hoping to add even more vendors to this year’s market so we can provide a nice selection of goods. The number of vendors usually increases as the growing season progresses and there is still time to participate,” said Nece Hill, Laurel Farmers Market manager. Applications are online at DowntownThursday.com and are first come, first served for spaces.

The 10th SEASON OF DOWNTOWN MOVIE NIGHT begins at 8pm at The BACKLOT, located on the corner of N. Magnolia and Library Street. This year we have some surprises to make this the best season yet! The Kick-Off Fireworks Show is back again this year on Thursday, May 30th at 8pm! Food, drinks and T-shirts will be available for purchase each night. So, grab your friends, family, neighbors, a lawn chair, or favorite blanket and join us for a great summer in beautiful, Downtown Laurel. Vendor applications are now being accepted at DowntownThursday.com as well!

For more information, entertainment schedule, movie line-up or to purchase one of this year’s custom t-shirts, check out the Downtown Thursday websitewww.DowntownThursday.com.

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