The Park That Safety 1st Built

When baby gear company Safety 1st approached local HGTV personalities, Ben & Erin Napier about sprucing up a park in Laurel for a commercial shoot, their initial response was “All of our parks are beautiful already.  We can’t think of a single one that needs a makeover on this scale.” Then, friend Josh Nowell had a lightbulb moment… What about Trustmark Park on the corner of Oak and Magnolia Streets?  It might be a little tricky though… the park was owned by the bank.  

After a meeting with Trustmark Bank officials, the City of Laurel, Laurel Main Street, Ben, and Josh, the bank agreed to donate the park to the city.  The city accepted the park and agreed to its maintenance.  Neel-Schaffer designed a beautiful and functional space and provided support throughout the construction process.  Laurel Main Street received the funds from Safety 1st for the renovation and work began.  

Old, tangled ground cover was removed to make way for artificial turf.  The turf makes a soft and safe play space for children, and is an easy to clean alternative to grass or wood chips. A hill was created in the middle of the park — perfect for rolling and sliding down!  

 

Beyond creating a safe and welcoming space, we desired a space that would reflect the personality of our town as well.  For that, local artist, Adam Trest, designed custom fence panels which were manufactured locally by C & C Specialties.  For the purpose of the Safety 1st commercial shoot in the park, their logo was painted on the brick facade of the building bordering the park.  Soon, this facade will be repainted with a custom mural, designed by Adam Trest to compliment the fence panels.

We would like to thank Safety 1st for their generous donation to our community.  However, we would be remiss if we did not also thank Laurel Main Street Board President, Lew Yoder, for negotiating the donation of the park.

At the grand opening of the newly renovated park, children enjoyed toys and activities from Crescent Line Toys, and swings from the Laurel Mercantile.  Special thanks to Mimmo’s Ristorante Pizzeria for catering this event with their delicious pizzas, and to Shug’s Cookie Dough and Candy Bar for providing sweet treats!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Deepest Thanks to:

Safety 1st

The Napier Family

Josh Nowell

Trustmark Bank

The City of Laurel

Neel-Schaffer Engineers

Dunn Roadbuilders

Landmark Landscape

Cynthia Rahaim, Horticulturist

Laurel Mercantile

Crescent Line Toys

Adam Trest

C & C Specialties

Mimmo’s Ristorante Pizzeria

Shug’s Cookie Dough & Candy Bar

Photo credit: Laura Jones

Countdown to Downtown Thursday!

The temperatures are rising and we’re counting down the days to summer!  Locals and visitors alike are looking forward to the longer days and activities that summer brings.  A favorite summertime event in Laurel is “Downtown Thursday” and this year, it’s getting a makeover!

Downtown Thursday is a series family-friendly evenings every Thursday night beginning May 31st and lasting until June 28th. Friends from all over Mississippi and beyond are welcome to attend this exciting, fun-filled season of fresh produce, live entertainment, movies, and community.

 The evenings will kick off with a Farmers Market from 5-8 pm and will continue with a family-friendly movie at The Backlot. Each night will feature live music on the Farmers Market Stage outside of Southern Antiques, along with great food and endless fun. 

The Laurel Farmers Market

The Laurel Farmers Market is definitely not your usual farmers market! It offers a street fair environment with something different going on each week… from kids’ activities and food trucks to live music and a car show! At its new location on North Magnolia Street, the Laurel Farmers Market will be open for business from 5 pm – 8 pm under the lights of downtown. Aside from stocking up on fruits, vegetables, and an assortment of homemade foods, visitors to this market can also stop by the many merchants along Magnolia Street and the entire downtown. This seasonal market attracts local farmers, gardeners, artisans, and craftsmen, resulting in an impressive variety of merchandise. Check out the Laurel Farmers Market for yourself every Thursday starting May 31st – through June 28th.

If you’re interested in becoming a vendor at the Laurel Farmers Market, click here to register.

Farmers Market Entertainment Line-up

MAY 31 –    KERRY THOMAS  (FIREWORKS AT 8PM)

JUNE 7 –    TOPHER BROWN  (with special guests BEN & ERIN NAPIER)

JUNE 14 –  GRAYSON CAPPS (FOOD TRUCK NIGHT)

JUNE 21 –  JOHN MILHAM JAZZ TRIO

JUNE 28 –  DJ JIM SCOTT (RED, WHITE & VROOM CAR & BIKE SHOW)

Downtown Movie Night

Downtown Movie Night is a highly anticipated summertime event and gets bigger and better each year!  Join us in The Backlot at the end of Magnolia Street after the Farmer’s Market for family-friendly movies under the stars.

Downtown Movie Night Line-up

coco movie

May 31st

ferdinand movie

June 7th

boss baby movie

June 14th

peter rabbit movie

June 21st

despicable me movie

June 28th

A new addition to the Downtown Thursday entertainment schedule is the Red, White, & Vroom Car & Bike Show.  It will take place on Thursday, June 28th from 3pm-8pm on the 400 block of Central Avenue.  Registration is going on now!  Click here for more information or to register!

car show

These fantastic events would not be possible without signature sponsor, Central Sunbelt Federal Credit Union.  Laurel Main Street is proud to partner with The Agape Church and Central Sunbelt FCU to continue bringing Downtown Thursday fun to Laurel!

“The One” Awards

Once a year the Laurel Main Street organization honors members of our downtown community for their commitment to the Main Street cause and their dedication to our community with “The One” Awards.  The awards were named for a phrase that pops up again and again during brainstorming or event planning sessions: “Those who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of THE ONEs who are doing it!”  On April 26th, we celebrated the dreamers, the doers, and THE ONES whose desire to leave things better than they found it is evident in all their pursuits.

This year, we enjoyed a beautiful evening at the home of LMS board members, Mallorie & Jim Rasberry.  Attendees enjoyed perfect spring weather, great food, and fellowship with those who share their affinity for downtown Laurel.  Awards were created by local calligrapher and artist Jade Yoder of Paper Studio and were presented by Laurel Main Street President, Lew Yoder.

Downtown Business of the Year

Chad & Terri Knight, owners of The Knight Butcher, were named Downtown Business of the Year.  They are THE ONES who have completed such a tremendous amount of work on their storefront and have also worked tirelessly to create an engaging and inviting atmosphere.  Their work outside their store, in the downtown community, is widespread as well, and we appreciate their dedication to downtown Laurel and Laurel Main Street!  Whether they’re rallying downtown merchants, creating secret Easter egg hunts downtown, or hosting Laurelpalooza, the Knights have shown their love for downtown knows no bounds.

THE ONE Award

THE ONE Award is presented each year to Laurel Main Street’s top volunteer.  This year, James & Nece Hill and Agape Church received THE ONE Award.  The Hills began their service to downtown Laurel ten years ago when few others had a vision of what downtown Laurel could be.  They renovated the former Woolworth’s building and built a modern church in the center of downtown.  Agape Church’s desire to serve the community around them is a direct reflection of the Hill’s heart for service and love of Laurel.  Agape Church is responsible for Downtown Movie Night, one of the most anticipated family events of the summer.  Without their manpower, Downtown Movie Night wouldn’t happen.  Agape Church will also provide the volunteers for this summer’s Downtown Laurel Farmers Market.  We are so incredibly thankful for the Hills and the congregation of Agape Church for their loyalty and dedication to Laurel Main Street and the revitalization of downtown Laurel!The ONE Award

 

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

It’s Almost Time for Touch a Truck!

Some Like it LOUD!

The 5th annual Touch a Truck event will be on Saturday, April 14th from 9am – 2pm in the parking lot beside the Laurel Jones County Library.

Touch a Truck is a fun family event that offers hands-on opportunities for children (and children-at-heart) to EXPLORE, CLIMB and TOUCH trucks, emergency response vehicles, heavy machinery and other equipment. Kids have the opportunity to get behind the wheel and rub elbows with their hometown heroes, while exploring their favorite vehicles including big rigs, fire engines, police cars, construction trucks, tractors and much more. So put your imagination in gear and go!

Know Before You Go

We understand that some like it loud and others don’t.  That’s why we’ll have two opportunities for those with sensitive hearing to enjoy this event.  We will observe no horn hour from 10am – 11am and from 1pm – 2pm.

This is an outdoor event, so dress accordingly and be prepared to climb!  For the safety of our guests and our furry friends, pets are not allowed at Touch a Truck.

Tickets are $5 each at the event.  Family 4-pack tickets can be purchased in advance for $15.  Children 2 and under are FREE.

Laurel Main Street t-shirts will be available for purchase, as well as ice cream from Landrum’s Country, cotton candy from Crescent Line Toys, and a variety of food and beverage vendors.

New This Year

We are thrilled to add trolley rides around the event area!  Perfect for when little legs are tired from walking and climbing!  You’ll also notice a new opportunity for interactive play — Imagination Playground™ Blocks, donated by Team “Fours of Nature” of Leadership Jones County.  Imagination Playground™ Blocks are easy to stack, line up and move around. Children enjoy an endless variety of play patterns including construction, pretend play, role-playing and inventing their own games. Most importantly, they are deeply engaged, active and have hours of fun.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Big Rig Sponsors

Jones County Board of Supervisors | Jones County Chamber of Commerce

Heavy Duty Sponsors

Burroughs Companies | Bush Construction

Steam Rolling Sponsors

B Clean, LLC

Tough Truck Sponsors

Dunn Roadbuilders, LLC | Neel-Schaffer | Caves & Caves, PLLC | Family Dental Center of Laurel & Waynesboro | Ghilchrist Sumrall Yoder Yoder & Leggett, LLC | CenterPoint Energy | ENT Surgical Clinic

Handy Helper Sponsors

Dixie Electric Power Association | Mississippi Power Company | Suez Water | BancorpSouth | Community Bank

We Look Forward to Seeing These Great Exhibitors!

Brian Ginn State Farm | Burroughs Companies | Bush Construction | Chancellor Electric | Leon Henderson, Jr. | UPS | Walter’s Construction | City of Laurel Fire Department | City of Laurel Police Department | EmServ | Jones County Sherriff | Rescue 7 | Powers Fire and Rescue |  Red Cross | B-Clean, LLC | CenterPoint Energy | City of Laurel Public Works | Coast Guard | Dixie Electric | Dunn Roadbuilders | Loomis | Mississippi Power | MMC Concrete | Mississippi Agriculture | Mississippi Army National Guard | Parish Transportation | Walter’s Construction | Lyle Machinery| Mr. Appliance | Suez Water | DJ Transit | Hammerhead | Pro-Flow Sports | Howard Transportation | The Service Co. | Coca Cola of Laurel

Coming Up Next

Community Bank’s Downtown Crawfest — April 21st  | Hello Beautiful Market Garden & Home Show — April 27th & 28th | Rotary Club Magnolia Street Soapbox Derby — May 12th | Farmers Market and Downtown Movie Night — Thursdays in June