Save the Date: Loblolly Festival is Back!

We have great news: Loblolly Festival is on. 

Mark your calendars and call your friends, because Loblolly Festival will be held Saturday, October 2nd, 2021! After a missed year, we are so excited to bring back everyone’s favorite festival this Fall.

This event has steadily grown over the years to become the biggest annual event in Downtown Laurel. We look forward to welcoming thousands to stroll our streets, enjoy live music, unique shopping, and lots of fun and good eats.

What better way to welcome Fall?

What to Expect

Loblolly Festival is held in the central Downtown district of Laurel 9AM-4Pm, usually covering Front Street, N Magnolia Street, Central Avenue, Oak Street, and part of N 5th Avenue. We hope for this year’s event to be the biggest and the best, but please note ongoing construction on Central Avenue and Leontyne Price Boulevard.

Due to street closures, vendors will not be placed in areas of active construction. Because of this, our layout will look a little different this year. However, our shops and eateries in that area will still be open and ready to serve you! Keep watch closer to the event for more information on parking and maps.

Loblolly Festival is always the first Saturday in October, rain or shine! Regardless of the weather, we will be Downtown having lots of fun. Make sure to watch the forecast to see what to wear and to bring along.

Arts, Crafts, Food, and Family Fun

This is a great event for everyone in the family! Be ready to enjoy kids activities, live music, specials at local businesses, a variety of shopping from vendors all over the region, and craft beer.

Loblolly coincides with Laurel Main Street’s annual Scarecrow Invasion, the Heritage Art Festival, and First Methodist Church of Laurel’s pumpkin patch.

A yearly cash prize contest for middle school and high school artists is sponsored by The Laurel Arts League.  Students paint a door skin section supplied by Masonite Corporation in cooperation with a chosen theme.  Themes vary from year to year, and  the art is judged by a blind panel of visual art experts. The art will be on display at the festival in the downtown YWCO on W. Oak St. during Loblolly Festival!

More to Explore

More information on Loblolly festival is coming soon! While you’re making plans to be there, check out these blogs on where Loblolly came from and how it celebrate’s Laurel’s Heritage.

Loblolly Festival: Celebrating the Town that Timber Built

Loblolly: The Power of a Historical Name

Be a Vendor

We are still accepting vendors for this year’s festival!

There are four categories of vendors at the Loblolly Festival: Food Vendor, Activity Vendor, Organization, Arts & Crafts.   Applications are available beginning every July (early rate), August (standard rate), and September (late rate).

We would love to have you: Apply Here


Check back with us for more announcements to come like our annual Scarecrow Invasion, the music lineup for Loblolly Festival, and more fun this Fall! We will meet you back here with a complete guide of everything going on at Loblolly festival.

Thank you to Howard Industries, Inc. for helping make this year’s event possible!

 

LAUREL MAIN STREET CANCELS NEW YEAR’S EVE EVENT

 

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                       Contact: Susan Ladd,

Laurel Main Street                                                                                                                                                     Executive Director

                                                                                                                                                                                                  (601) 433-3255

      

LAUREL MAIN STREET CANCELS NEW YEAR’S EVE EVENT

Laurel, Mississippi (December 15, 2020) — It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that Laurel Main Street (LMS) announces the cancellation of this year’s Downtown Countdown, due to take place on December 31, 2020.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly but given the growing concerns around COVID-19, the Laurel Main Street Board of Directors felt it was the right decision. Downtown Countdown was an incredibly successful event in its inaugural year, and one we looked forward to continuing, but we must prioritize the health and safety of our partners, volunteers, and community.

“We are devastated to share this news and had held out hope that our county and city would be in a much healthier situation, but that is not the case,” LMS President, Truitt Taylor, stated.  “After reviewing the Governor’s mandates, the rise of COVID-19 cases in our area, and in close consultation with our city leaders, we believe that cancellation is the appropriate call.”

We remain committed to downtown Laurel and our mission of economic revitalization. We appreciate the support of our city leaders, Main Street Partners, Members, and event sponsors, and we look forward to resuming in-person events in 2021.

# # #

Laurel Main Street is an organization dedicated to the revitalization of Historic Downtown Laurel. Using the four-point approach of organization, design, promotion and economic restructuring, Main Street communities boost local business from the city center outward. Laurel Main Street is an accredited Main Street America organization.

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.

Laurel Main Street Recognized at Mississippi Main Street Annual Awards

Laurel Main Street was recently honored for Outstanding Creative Placemaking at the Mississippi Main Street Association’s annual awards. Leontyne Price musical park was a collaboration among multiple businesses and community organizations.

Laurel loves Leontyne Price. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s (LRMA) year-long celebration of the beloved opera singer and Laurelite’s 90th birthday proves that, along with Laurel’s new musical park. Leontyne Price Park represents the collaboration of almost a dozen different entities including the City of Laurel, Laurel Main Street, LRMA, the Price family, Laurel Machine and Foundry (LMF), Sonny & Cille Screen Printing, The Knight Butcher, and Central Creativity.

The “Treble Makers,” a Leadership Jones County team, raised over $15,000 to fund the project and worked hard to reach out to the community for both input and arts education. The park was built to enable people of all ages—but especially formative youth—to experience the enrichment that music can provide through both sheer enjoyment and gaining an understanding of musical concepts. The many students who come to the park to play and learn will be inspired by Laurel’s most famous daughter.

What is Creative Placemaking?

This award recognizes a creative placemaking endeavor that involves artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners who have deliberately integrated arts and culture into community revitalization work. The placemaking project should show how it enhances quality of life for existing residents, increases creative activity, and creates a distinct sense of place.

The Mississippi Main Street Association (MMSA) celebrated achievements of Mississippi Main Street Communities with a special virtual awards presentation this year. MMSA staff presented the 2020 awards from the Old Capitol Inn in downtown Jackson via Facebook Live. The annual awards honors Main Street directors, board members and volunteers and recognizes the most outstanding downtown development projects from Main Street communities in Mississippi.

“Mississippi Main Street is excited to celebrate the achievements of our Main Street communities,” said Steven Dick, MMSA Board President. “Our local leaders have worked tirelessly to provide economic opportunities, increase quality of life, and preserve what makes our downtowns special.” Thomas Gregory, MMSA State Coordinator, Jennifer Prather, Director of Community Development, and Jeannie Zieren, Director of Communication and Marketing, presented the awards.