Ready, Set, Boil!

One of our favorite times of the year is finally here! Saturday, April 17th, 2021, is the annual Community Bank’s Crawfest! After the year that we have had, everyone is itchin’ to get out of the house in some beautiful weather and eat as much crawfish as they can physically stand.

The corner of West Oak and Front Streets will be lined with several teams that are fired up to win Crawfest 2021! Not only will the title of winner be on the line, but these cooks have worked hard to hone their skills to showcase some unique and delicious recipes that will make us Laurelites take notice.

This year’s judges are ready to see what our teams have brought to the crawfish table! From enthusiasts to down-home cooks, expect them to really dig in!

Schedule

10:00 A.M. – Teams check in.

11:00 A.M. – Gates open and crawfish is served!

2:30 P.M. – Our Crawfest 2021 winner will be announced!

3:00 P.M. – End of event. Time to head home and sleep off that crawfish coma!

Our list of prizes for our winners are as follows:

Traditional Award – $500 cash prize/Large platter by local artist

Covfefe Award – $500 cash prize/Large platter by local artist

People’s Choice Award – $100 cash prize/Small platter by local artist

Spirit of Crawfest Award – $100 cash prize/Small platter by local artist

This is a cash only event, but you can purchase your tickets early online! $15 gets you inside the gate, and it allows you to taste the entire time. For $30, you get endless tasting, add-ins, AND 5 whole pounds of crawfish to take with you for that after-nap snack! There will be live music and beverages to add to your experience.

Click link to purchase your tickets!

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/community-banks-crawfest-tickets-144495583179?fbclid=IwAR36Bj-CqJlTB5XeKhyYaOajUoN-bESNBrNHT4xxSsBWtT1YCU3QQGnWtsU

Kids under the age of 12 get free entrance and tasting, and Chik-Fil-A will be available for anyone wanting to enjoy the fun of the event without the crawdaddies.

Remember to bring out your inner judge when tasting because you will be voting for the winner of the People’s Choice Award!

Also, we love pets, but please remember to leave them at home during this event! We can almost guarantee that when you step through your front door smelling of delicious boil, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from your fur babies!

We Love our Sponsors and Producers!

We could not even begin to bring fun and family-friendly events like this to you without the support from our local businesses and sponsors. Because of their endless gratitude we are able to keep Downtown Laurel on the up-and-up with improvements! This benefit is also benefitting the Sertoma Club of Laurel!

Meet Our Sponsors

 

 

Laurel Main Street’s Chili Cook-off Canceled in Caution of COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Susan Ladd
Laurel Main Street
(601) 433-3255 info@laurelmainstreet.com

CHILI COOK-OFF IS CANCELED

Laurel Main Street’s Chili Cook-off Canceled in Caution of COVID-19

Laurel, MS––January 14, 2021–– Laurel Main Street h​ as confirmed the cancellation of this year’s Chili Cook-off, sponsored by Magnolia State Bank, originally scheduled for February 13, 2021. After discussion between the Laurel Main Street Board and Mayor Johnny Magee, the formal decision has been made to call off this event.

Due to the nature of this event, there would be no way to effectively socially distance or guarantee the health and safety of attendees. Laurel Main Street will continue to abide by any COVID-19 related mandates or regulations in place and will follow the advice of state and local leaders.

The organization has plans to move forward with seasonal events in 2021 and will follow any regulations that may still be in place. It is of the utmost importance that all locals and visitors of Downtown Laurel get to live, work, eat, and play safely.

Founded in 2007, Laurel Main Street is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to revitalizing historic downtown Laurel, Miss., through preservation and economic growth. To learn more about Laurel Main Street, please visit www.laurelmainstreet.com.

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Top 5 Reasons to Shop Local This Holiday Season

This holiday season looks a little different, but we can still share joy. Shop Small and support your favorite small businesses – both in-store and online – all holiday season long.

1. Economic Stimulus. Supporting local is more than just a hashtag, it’s a lifestyle. Shopping locally supports local families and our local economy by keeping dollars local, so they can make more of an impact in our town. When someone opens their own business, they hire local people, pay local taxes, and source goods locally. When you shop local, you expand opportunity for others in your community. The health of small business is a direct reflection of the overall well-being of a community. Healthy Small Businesses = Healthy Local Economy.

 

2. Connect & Experience. We live in a “buy with one click” world. But there are still many consumers who want an experience, who desire interaction; that’s where small businesses and downtowns can thrive. They serve as a place to socialize and gather. Shopping locally means bumping into friends, benefitting from the expertise of local retailers, enjoying lively streets, and discovering something new. In a world where people are plugged in 24-7, many folks still desire a unique shopping experience.

3. Job Creation. Small, local businesses are the largest employers nationally. Compared to Amazon, independent retailers create 2x as many jobs for the same amount of revenue.1 Plus, the more jobs you have in your local community, the less people are going to have to commute, which means more time and less traffic.

4. Community Investment. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s welfare and future. Local business owners also donate more to local charities than non-local owners. In places with more local businesses, people have stronger social ties2 and participate in more civic affairs.3

5. You Matter More. You might have read about exerting influence with your purchasing choices, or “voting with your wallet.” It’s a fact that all businesses respond to their customers, but your values and desires are much more influential to your local business than the big box stores.

Promoting the “support local” initiative is something that we celebrate as an organization on a daily basis. We value strong partnerships with the business community, and we believe that people want to support local businesses too. But if you MUST shop on Amazon, consider enrolling in the AmazonSmile program and designating Laurel Main Street as your charity of choice. Click here for more information on the AmazonSmile program and how you can help local non-profits.

 

Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It Means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources, employ local workers, and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependant on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.

– paraphrased from Michael H. Shuman, author of the book Going Local.

 

  1. “Amazon’s Stranglehold,” Institute for Local Self-Reliance, Nov. 2016
  2. “The Health and Wealth of US Counties,” Troy C. Blanchard, et. All., Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, 2011.
  3. “The Configuration of Local Economic Power and Civic Participation in the Global Economy,” Troy Blanchard and Todd L. Matthews, Social Forces, June 2006.

The 4th Annual Scarecrow Invasion

It’s time for the 4th annual Scarecrow Invasion!

The Scarecrow Invasion 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! This year’s theme is Famous Mississippi: Persons, Places, and Things.

Last year, our downtown merchants’ creations ranged from sweet to spooky and everything in between!

Peddler’s Junktion was awarded third place for their “cheeky” display.

2019 Scarecrow Invasion – 3rd Place – Peddler’s Junktion

Magnolia State Bank took their scarecrows to frightening heights with zombies scaling the building and encouraging passersby to save lives by donating blood.

2019 Scarecrow Invasion – 2nd Place – Magnolia State Bank

The top prize went to the creative team at Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar! Shug’s is the perfect place for Cookie Monster to hang out, don’t you think?

2019 Scarecrow Invasion – Winner – Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar

This event is absolutely free to enjoy! All scarecrows will be installed by Friday, October 2, 2020, and judging will begin at noon. Scarecrows will remain on view through the month of October, and will be removed by Friday, November 6, 2020.

Be Golden

A lot of things are golden — rules, ratios, the Laurel High School mascot, silence — and most of the visitors to our hometown are golden as well. But an issue has arisen in our city that we cannot remain silent about any longer. The safety and comfort of our neighbors is being invaded, and we wouldn’t be good neighbors ourselves if we didn’t address it. If you live or own a business in Laurel, please read this. If you’re a fan of our hometown and you’re planning a visit, please read this. If you’re bored at work, heck, you can read this too.

What We Learned in Waco

When Laurel learned that it would be broadcast into homes across the country, the city leadership formed a book club and read What to Expect When You’re Expecting a TV Show, and met each week for coffee and discussion. KIDDING! If only it were that simple! In actuality, several of our city leaders took a trip to Waco, TX, the home of Fixer Upper and the Gaines’s empire. They spoke with business owners, homeowners, and city leaders there, and learned about what we should expect and how we should prepare. The team learned from the mistakes Waco made in the wake of the Fixer Upper frenzy. They decided on the way home from that trip that the city of Laurel, and any organization that worked in cooperation with the city, would never offer tours, maps, or reveal the location of homes featured on the show. The merchants of downtown Laurel whole-heartedly agreed.

It’s Personal

Laurel has welcomed Home Town fans from across the country and around the world. Through all of this interaction with such a vast cross-section of people, we have noticed that good manners and the notion of being a good guest mean different things to different people.

Some of our friends and neighbors have experienced some uncomfortable situations, but many have experienced things that are downright scary. The stories we’ve heard from friends and neighbors sound like they could be the beginning of a true crime TV show, but they’re actually the result of a home improvement TV show.

You may be wondering why Laurel Main Street, an organization that is committed to the economic vitality of downtown Laurel, is addressing this. To that, I’ll say, “It’s personal.” Its personal to all of us because this is our town. It’s personal because we loved Laurel before it was popular and we’ll love it long after the Home Town hype has faded. Laurel Main Street has worked for over a decade to make Laurel a great place to live and work, and we’d like it to stay that way.

If Good Fences Make Good Neighbors…

You know the saying, Good fences make good neighbors”? Its not about tall pieces of wood between two houses; its about respecting boundaries. For the first few years of the show, Home Town fans were happy for a glimpse into The City Beautiful on TV. Visitors to Laurel enjoyed driving down the avenues, trying to spot the homes, and we welcomed those visitors into our town and into our stores with open arms. However, in the past year, a new breed of fan has emerged. These fans don’t love our town. They don’t care about being good neighbors, and they’re not very respectful visitors either. We understand that many guests feel that Laurelites are their oldest and dearest friends. What can we say? Our locals are pretty amazing! Whether you’re a guest in someone’s home or in someone’s hometown there are a few guidelines to follow to make sure you’re respecting their boundaries and will remain friends even after you’re gone.

1. Follow the House Rules

Before you arrive, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the way things are done to avoid any misunderstandings.

  • Respect the personal space of others. Don’t ask where Home Town cast members live. Say hello if you see someone you recognize in public, but respect their privacy when they’re at home.

 

  • Don’t trespass. We have beautiful streets and avenues lined with sidewalks, and we LOVE seeing guests walking around, admiring the architecture and trying to guess who might be behind the front door. However, when someone enters a yard, garden, or porch uninvited, they are trespassing and nobody likes a trespasser.

 

  • Keep the noise to a minimum. Part of the reason that so many people choose to call Laurel home is because of its sleepy, small town qualities. Please don’t drive past homes while honking and yelling at the homeowners.

 

  • Observe polite parking protocol. If you suspect that you have found a home that was featured on Home Town, please do not park in front of it and wait for the home owners to exit. Please do not block driveways in the hopes that a local celebrity will come to personally ask you to move your vehicle and take a photo with you since they’re there.

2. Act More Appropriate Than Usual

Represent your neck of the woods. Make your mama proud. Put your best foot forward. There’s about a dozen ways to say it, but the bottom line is to be your best self. Isn’t that what Home Town does for you? The show features the best parts of small-town life and then invites you to experience it for yourself. Surely, you can return the favor when you visit.

3. Leave Things Better Than You Found Them.

  • Clean up after yourself, your pet, your kids.

Accidents and awkward situations are bound to happen. Be ready with an apology or a helping hand to try to mend the situation as quickly as possible. If you forget everything else, just follow the Golden Rule:

do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

(Matt. 7:12).

Would you want strangers peeking through the slit in your curtains to see what books are on your coffee table? Probably not. Would you want a group of tourists posing for pictures on your front porch swing? My guess would also be no. Would you want a strangers trying to photograph your kids while they play in your house? What about while they play in the yard? Is that ok? That’s a hard no. Children should be off limits.

There’s more to being a great guest than just showing up and being the life of the party. And speaking of parties, the city of Laurel and Laurel Main Street host multiple public events each year, and you’re invited to them all! This is a great way to get a feel for the city, and even to spot some familiar faces you might have seen on Home Town.

We have opened our town to you. We have invited you into our magical piece of the planet, and we are so glad you love Laurel. You can show your appreciation by being kind, courteous, and respectful.

Laurelites, be trustworthy. Show your neighbors you care by checking on them, looking out for their home and property, and protecting their privacy.

For the sake of our city and those who love it, we are asking you to Be Golden. Our city will thank you. Our neighbors will thank you. The Home Town family will thank you. We can make the world a better place one act of kindness at a time.