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 because it’s our largest Loblolly Festival EVER!  Here are some tips to help you enjoy the festival, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran.  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 stationed on West Oak St., and purchase 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 schedule:

When you arrive be sure to pick up a map.  If you’re a strategic shopper, this will definitely make it easier for you to find any specific vendors you came to see.  

2018 Loblolly map

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.

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

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

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! 

What is Loblolly Festival?

Saturday October 6, 2018 · 9am ’til 4pm

Loblolly LumberjackThe Loblolly Festival is held annually on the first Saturday in October and celebrates Laurel’s heritage as a sawmill town. Parking and admission are free, so bring the family and get ready for a fun-filled day!

Vendors from several states, artists, crafters and craftsmen set up shop in the streets of downtown Laurel for this one day event.

From mid-morning to late-afternoon musicians and songwriters will display their talents on the Loblolly Stage.

Festival goers will be enticed by the aromas of the food trucks lining Oak Street. Enjoy authentic festival food like funnel cakes, chicken-on-a-stick and award winning barbecue.

You won’t be able to miss the flannel-adorned Laurel Lumberjack who stands nearly a foot taller than all around him.  He quickly draws a crowd and is happy to oblige those requesting photos.

Look on as a talented artist cranks his chainsaw and shapes logs and limbs into beautiful artwork at this favorite festival attraction, funded by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Teens flock to the Art on Masonite contest, hoping to find the winning ribbon pinned to their own creation.

The Kids’ Zone at the Loblolly Festival grows every year too! There’s something for children of all ages!

Soon, the 2018 Loblolly Festival will be a recent memory, but for now, there is still time to experience the fun and nostalgia as we celebrate our storied past and enjoy our artful, musical, delicious present.

Join us for the 2018 Loblolly Festival in downtown Laurel!

Saturday, October 6th from 9am ’til 4pm

Essentials for Downtown Thursday

The start of Downtown Thursday is only a week away so we’ve rounded up some items from our downtown merchants that will make your trip to the Laurel Farmers Market and Downtown Movie Night a breeze even if there’s not a breeze in sight.

Make Your List & Check it Twice

Take your grocery list with you to the Farmers Market and buy what you can locally grown!  The Gift Shop at Oak Street Place, housed inside the same building as popular downtown hangout Lee’s Coffee & Tea, offers beautiful paper goods, gift items, and these Market List notepads by Rifle Paper Co.

Country Farm Market List by Rifle Paper Co. | Gift Shop at Oak Street Place | Click to Shop

Citrus Floral Julep Market List by Rifle Paper Co. | Gift Shop at Oak Street Place | Click to Sho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Cool

Summer sun in South Mississippi is no laughing matter.  Keep your cool and show your love for downtown with a Downtown Laurel cap from Lott Furniture Co.  Stay hydrated with luxury tumblers by Sovaro from Patina’s.  Sovaro coolers are also available for purchase if you want to pack a picnic for movie night!

Downtown Laurel Cap | Lott Furniture Co.

Sovaro Coolers & Tumblers | Patina’s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See and Be Seen

Downtown Thursday is more than a market or a movie; it’s a weekly social event!  Keep your cool and look your best with shades from Guild & Gentry or a cute new outfit from Sass & Class Boutique on Central Ave.

Maho Shades | Guild & Gentry

Top and Shorts | Sass & Class Boutique

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Totes Y’all

You’re sure to load up on lots of goodies at the Farmers Market and you’ll definitely want a hand getting them home!  These tote bags are the perfect size and shape so be sure to pick one up before the market!

Beehive Market Bag | Adam Trest Home | Click to Shop

Canvas Tote | Laurel Mercantile Co. | Click to Shop

Downtown Laurel Canvas Tote | Lott Furniture Co.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner and a Movie

On Thursdays, pack a picnic or grab dinner downtown!  These huge microfiber beach towels from Guild & Gentry are perfect for a picnic during Downtown Movie Night.  Vintage quilts also make fantastic picnic blankets and can be purchased at Peddlers’ Junktion.

Dock and Bay Microfiber Beach Towels | Guild & Gentry | Click to Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Knight Butcher will be open until 7:00 p.m. every Thursday in June and will offer tax free jerky, fudge, and brown bag dinners!  If you don’t want to take your dinner to-go, grab a seat on the patio and enjoy live music on The Knight Butcher stage from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Knight Sugar Homemade Fudge | The Knight Butcher

Knight Jerky | The Knight Butcher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can’t wait to see all the vendors and visitors next Thursday for the first Downtown Thursday of the season!

Thank You for an Awesome April!

Laurel Main Street welcomed spring with back to back events in April and we can’t thank you enough for your support!  All Laurel Main Street events serve to further the purpose of our organization, which is to establish a vibrant commercial district in and around Downtown Laurel, enhance our community and heritage, foster a center of activity and ensure economic stability for the heart of our city.  While Touch a Truck didn’t got exactly as planned, we’re so thankful for the exhibitors and attendees who came and enjoyed the morning with us.

The inaugural Community Bank Downtown Crawfest was a smashing success!  Crawfest goers were treated to a day of all you care to eat crawfish from our 22 competition teams, plus unique fixins’ such as pineapple and ravioli.  The teams went above and beyond to set themselves apart, which made for a fun day for everyone!  We were so thankful for the beautiful weather, great music from the Pinebelt Pickers, and copious amounts of crawfish!  It was our honor and privilege to partner with the Sertoma Club of Laurel for this event and we look forward to doing it again next year!

 

Congratulations to the winners of the inaugural Community Bank Downtown Crawfest!

Most Spirited: Southern Spice

Sprit Award

People’s Choice: Dr. Mudbug and the Crawfish Bandits

People's Choice

Covfefe (add-ins) Category:

3rd place — Tails & Ales

2nd place — Crossroad Grilling and Catering

1st place — Family Heritage

Covfefe winner

Crawfish Category:

3rd place — Brian Ginn State Farm

2nd place — Stew’s Crew

1st place — Humana Tail Pinchers

Crawfish winner

Special thanks to Powers Fire & Rescue for providing cooking water for our teams.  We would also like to thank the City of Laurel, Laurel Police Department, Laurel Fire Department, Sertoma Club of Laurel and Sertoma Teen Volunteers, Suez Water, Lott Furniture Co., Southern Beverage, B Clean LLC, Kim’s No Bull, The Crawdaddy Shack,  Shuff Mauldin State Farm, Woodland Realty, Inc., Endom Trailer, Phillips Building Supply, Rent All of Laurel, Inc., Caves & Caves, PLLC, and Laurel Country Club!

Time for the Community Bank Downtown Crawfest!

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 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. Randy has been cooking Crawfish for over 30 years and has been involved with cooks all over the Southeast U.S. 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.

Kids’ Activities

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