It’s Time for the 9th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

On Saturday, February 8, 2020, Downtown Laurel will once again welcome hungry customers and competition teams with their top secret chili recipes. The annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off is one of Laurel Main Street’s most popular events each year. 

Early in the morning, teams will begin setting up and decorating their booths along Central Avenue.  All of the teams will prepare their recipes from scratch as attendees look on. The event officially begins at NOON. 

For just $10, you can enjoy an “all-you-can-eat” bowl.  For $25, enjoy a “bottomless” Carl Buchanan keepsake pottery bowl.  This year, skip the line and purchase your tickets in advance! Visit www.eventbrite.com to get your tickets before the big day. 

Our expert panel of judges will taste each entry and decide who wins the $1,000 prize in each category. We’ll reveal our taste masters soon!

Think you’ve got what it takes for total chili domination? Click here to enter your team!

Thank you to our incredible Sponsors and Producers!

Events like the Chili Cook Off 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.

Join us February 8, 2020 in Downtown Laurel for the 9th Annual Magnolia State Bank Chili Cook Off!

Tagged chili cook offcommunitydowntowneventi live in laurelLaurelLaurel Main Streetlaurel ms

What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?

The 1920s was a decade of prosperity and dissipation, and of jazz bands, bootleggers, raccoon coats, bathtub gin, flappers, flagpole sitters, and marathon dancers, and in a few short weeks, the streets of downtown Laurel will be filled with revelers welcoming the “Roaring 20s” back to Laurel.

In the 1920s, Laurel was a city on the move. The Eastman-Gardiner Lumber Company was booming and Laurel was known as the Yellow Pine Capital of the World. The sawmills were shipping out one million board feet of lumber daily on rail car. People were moving to town for jobs at the newly formed Masonite Corporation and visitors and residents alike enjoyed going to the picture show at the newly constructed Arabian Theatre.

The inaugural Downtown Countdown is a free event held in the heart of Downtown Laurel. Beer and Champagne will be served, as well as food from food trucks. Some of your favorite downtown restaurants will also be open during the festivities: Lee’s Coffee & Tea, Slow Boat Brewing Co., and The Loft on Central.

VIP Area

The VIP tent will be in front of Mimmo’s Ristorante Pizzeria and will be open from 6:00 p.m. until the end of the event. Guests will enjoy exclusive live entertainment, seating, firework show viewing, refreshments by The Gables, a fully stocked cash bar, casino games, a cigar bar by Guild & Gentry, private restrooms, and premium parking. Our theme for the Downtown Countdown VIP area is “Roaring into the 20s,” so get creative and dress to impress! Click here to purchase VIP tickets for $100 each. Please note, the VIP area is for those 21 and up only.

On the Main Stage

Live entertainment is brought to you by our platinum sponsor, Howard Industries. Red & the Revelers is a collection of musicians from Mobile, AL and the Gulf Coast, and they’re sure to delight with their mixture of Americana and Deep South Soul. Emerald Empire from Birmingham, Alabama will follow with their high energy performances of the songs you know and love.

Be sure to stay until midnight when we lower our custom made 70 foot Pinecone and for a spectacular fireworks display! This dazzling display would not be possible without the creative team at Headrick Signs & Graphics and the generous sponsorship of Bancorp South.

For the Kids

The children’s area will be located on the 400 block of N. Magnolia Street and will feature music, games, activities, and face painting. At 8:00 p.m. there will be a kids countdown by Ben and Erin Napier of HGTV Home Town, a balloon drop, and a mini firework show. The appreciate the generous sponsorship of Shug’s Cookie Dough and Candy Bar, Crescent Line Toys and The Loblolly Boutique for the children’s activities.

Event Schedule

6:00 p.m.

Food Truck and Beer Service begins on Oak Street

Kids Area activities begin on the 400 block of North Magnolia Street

8:00 p.m.

Kids balloon drop and firework show

Red & the Revelers begin on the Main Stage

9:00 p.m.

Emerald Empire on the Main Stage

11:30-11:55 p.m.

Champagne Service

12:00 a.m.

Pinecone Drop

Firework Show

Midnight Performance

#ShopSmall with Us on Small Business Saturday – November 30th

 The #ShopSmall Movement is Coming to The City Beautiful!

For decades we’ve rushed off to the big chain stores on Black Friday to crowd the aisles in search of that one great deal, or this year’s must-have Christmas toy.

Sometimes, in the excitement of it all, we forget that some of our most enjoyable shopping experiences were found at a local shop, far from the hustle and bustle of the crowded department stores.

Small business owners pour their hearts into every detail of their business.  They strive to create an enjoyable and unforgettable shopping experience for their guests.  Now it’s time to celebrate these entrepreneurs who put so much love into every detail of their business and the experiences they provide for their customers.  

On November 30th, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we will celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Be a Part of the #ShopSmall Movement

On November 30th businesses all over Downtown Laurel will not only open their doors, but will welcome shoppers with special events, giveaways, promotions and more! 

Business owners, As a Laurel Main Street member your business can join the #shopsmall movement and receive the attention of our nationwide audience as well as customized promotional tools and tips. You don’t have to be a Main Street member to participate, but we’d love to have you as a part of our #shopsmall team.

Shoppers, do you believe in supporting small businesses?  The #shopsmall movement is a great way for you to support local entrepreneurs while enjoying a unique shopping experience. The effect of an event like Small Business Saturday has a direct impact on the goals and dreams of local folks just like you. When you support Laurel’s small business owners, you’re telling them that you appreciate the work they are doing to further our city’s growth, and that you believe in them. So invite friends to shop with you.  Share your shopping experiences on social media using the hashtag #shopsmallinLaurel.  Let small business owners know you value their efforts.     

Why #ShopSmall?

The impact of an event like Small Business Saturday can’t be limited to a tally of a single day’s sales, or a list of great deals. The value of an event like this represents something much bigger — an appreciation and support of small business owners, and the impact on the local economy.

Small businesses help communities thrive.  There are 254,598 small businesses operating in Mississippi.  They make up 99.3% of all businesses in our state.  Small businesses in Mississippi created 6,652 new jobs in 2018 alone.  That means that almost half of all employees in the state of Mississippi work for a small business.  Small businesses help ensure local economies stay strong and vibrant.  When small businesses succeed, we all do.

Consider this: When you spend $100 at a locally-owned small business, $68 stays in the local economy. Compare that to the same $100 spent at a chain store where only $43 remains locally. With the average American shopper likely to spend over $684 on holiday gifts this year, shopping at independent businesses in your hometown has the potential to make a major impact on the health of the local economy.

As the official Neighborhood Champion for Laurel’s Small Business Saturday, Laurel Main Street has worked to bring together an incredible group of local retailers who are ready to welcome you during the November 30th event!

So join us on Small Business Saturday to get great deals, find some incredible, unique local gifts, and enjoy a fun shopping experience, but, most importantly – to support the folks who are making a difference in our city!

Small Business Saturday is a national initiative aimed at helping local businesses compete during the critical holiday shopping season and aims to drive shoppers to local small merchants the Saturday following Thanksgiving.  More than 100 million Americans shopped small on Small Business Saturday last year.  Join the movement and shop local on November 30th this year!

#ShopSmall #ShopLocal #ShopLaurel

Tagged christmasdowntownentrepreneureventlaurel msshop localshop smallshoppingsmall business saturday

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 and here are some tips to help you enjoy Loblolly Festival, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran.  The 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 station on West Oak St., and purchase a commemorative Laurel Main Street 10 year anniversary t-shirt or 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 entertainment schedule:

When you arrive be sure to pick up a map.  It will help you get the lay of the land, and if you’re a strategic shopper, this will definitely make it easier for you to find any specific vendors you came to see.

 

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 as well as BancorpSouth.

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

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

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! 

Sip & Stroll:

The walkable downtown area comprises a social district, which allows downtown patrons to “sip and stroll” as long as their beverages are in a “to-go” cup.  Open container laws are still in effect.  Please drink responsibly.

Scarecrow Harvest

The Scarecrow Harvest 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!

Design and display your scarecrow in front of your business, hiding behind a bush, leaning against a street light, washing a window or even climbing a tree. The event is absolutely free and only requires your creativity! We ask that all scarecrows be installed by Friday, October 4, 2019, in time for judging and the Loblolly Festival on Saturday, October 5, 2019.  Please make sure your scarecrow is tied down and secured so goblins and storms can’t take it away! Scarecrows will remain on view through the month of October and should be removed by Friday, November 1, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judging for the top three scarecrow designs will be done on the Friday afternoon prior to the Loblolly Festival and winners announced during the Festival.  We can’t wait to see what you come up with this season! 

This contest is hosted by Laurel Main Street, for questions or concerns, please contact Judi Holifield, info@laurelmainstreet.com or your block ambassador.