On Saturday, April 21, 2018, Downtown Laurel will welcome the hungry masses for a cooking competition the likes of which Laurel has never seen before. 22 teams from across the state will bring their top secret crawfish recipes to compete in the Inaugural 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 7:00 a.m. the teams will begin setting up and decorating their booths along Front Street. Teams are given three hours to set up and decorate before the real work begins. Come early to 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, mouths watering with anticipation. The event officially begins at 10:00 a.m. when Pinebelt Pickers takes the stage.
You may enter the Downtown Crawfest at the intersection of Oak Street and Maker’s Alley (near hand+MADE) or at the Laurel Mercantile Co. parking area. For just $15 per person, you can taste as much crawfish and fixins’ as your belly can handle. For $30 per person, enjoy all you can taste crawfish and fixins’ PLUS two free drinks, five pounds of crawfish from the Craw Daddy Shack, and two additional drink tickets. Children 5 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. Tasting and serving will begin at 11:30 a.m. 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.
Pre-sold Touch a Truck tickets will be honored at this event. If you purchased Touch a Truck tickets and were unable to use them due to the weather, bring them to Crawfest and you will receive a $15 entry stamp.
At 11:00, 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 at Slowboat Brewing!
Meet the Judges
Pearl Campbell is a native of Laurel and a 1966 graduate of Oak Park. Growing up, Pearl spent most of her days helping her grandmother in her store, Duncan’s Grocery. Taught by her mother and Grandmother, Pearl has been cooking since the age of 12, and it was those two special ladies who taught Pearl the importance of hard work and to always put God first. In 1989 Pearl opened her 1st restaurant, Pearl’s Southern Food, in Indianapolis, Ohio. Pearl retired from the Ohio School District in 2010 and moved back to laurel in 2015 to take care of her father John Campbell. Pearl’s cooking days were not over yet though. Through her good friends, Charles Pickering and Susan Vincent, Pearl met Josh Nowell. Josh was then renovating the old Burton’s Jewelry building and both Pearl and Josh saw a great opportunity in the making. In fall of 2017 that historic building became what we now know as The Pearl Diner. Pearl Campbell has been cooking great southern food for over 50 years and if you stop by the diner you can get a taste for yourself!
Randy and his wife of 32 years Debbie, have 2 sons, Kevin & Curtis
Leslie Kelley began her banking career with Community Bank in 2003. Currently, she is the Vice President of Business Development for Community Bank. Leslie concentrates on servicing Business and Commercial Banking as well as Personal Banking customers.
Leslie is a 2013 graduate of the Mississippi School of Banking at the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Leslie also volunteers and serves as the Co-Secretary for Biloxi Kiwanis Club, member of Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce currently serving as Chair for Chamber Champions program, current member of the Salvation Army Advisory Board , serves as Treasurer for her Neighborhood Association and is the current President of Ocean Springs Education Foundation. She is also a current Leadership Gulf Coast participant.
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 Holifield’s corn dogs, ice cream, and lemonade will be on-site. If you’re still hungry for crawfish, The Craw Daddy Shack will sell crawfish and add-ons as well.
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 be 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, Capri Suns, and water.
Thanks to the generous donation of Leadership Jones County and Team “Fours of Nature” the new 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.
Lagniappe Sponsor: Community Bank
Big Pincher Sponsor: B Clean, LLC & Southern Beverage
Craw Daddy Sponsors: Kim’s No Bull & The Craw Daddy Shack
Mud Bug Sponsors: Shuff Mauldin State Farm, Woodland Realty, Endom Trailer, Phillips Building Supply, Rent All of Laurel, Caves & Caves, PLLC, and The Laurel Country Club
Event producers: Suez Water, The City of Laurel, Lott Furniture, Laurel Main Street & Sertoma of Laurel
Stage Sponsor: Trans Safe