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.

Wine Down Downtown

We’re introducing a new monthly event: Wine Down Downtown!  One Friday each month, we will host a wine tasting and shopping event from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. with downtown merchants and restaurants staying open late.  We look forward to the fun and fellowship this will provide our community and the opportunities this will provide our merchants.

Important Information

Please note: We are only serving tastes — equivalent to about a 2 ounce pour.  Pours will be limited to 2 pours per person, per location.  Wine will only be poured into Laurel Main Street wine tumblers.

How do I get a Laurel Main Street wine tumbler?

The Laurel Main Street tent will be set up at the intersection of Central Ave. and Magnolia St. and will serve as the entry point for the event.  Stop by the tent to purchase your wine tumbler ($15, cash only) and pick up an event map. Don’t forget your ID!  LMS volunteers will check IDs at the event tent.  Only those 21 and older are allowed to purchase wine tumblers. If you forget cash, there are two ATMs downtown: Laurel Welcome Center and BancorpSouth.

Where should I park?

There are several events happening downtown this weekend, so we suggest parking on the outskirts of downtown.

What about the kids?

Kids are welcome! Loblolly/Crescent Line Toys will be hosting children’s activities. Our two downtown parks will also serve as a place for children to enjoy during the festivities.  For the safety of all the children, we ask that they be supervised in the parks.

What if I don’t want wine?

Folks that don’t drink wine or don’t want to participate in the tasting are still welcome! We encourage everyone to come! Beer/Liquor/non-alcoholic drinks can be purchased from several downtown restaurants as well as Slowboat Brewery. The 5000, The Knight Butcher, Mimmo’s, Cafe Lafleur, Slowboat Brewery, The Loft, Shug’s, Lee’s Coffee and Tea, and Scotsman General Store will also be serving various drinks besides wine.

Where’s the closest restroom?

We will not have any public port-a-potties for this event, however, Shugs, Laurel Mercantile, and Scotsman General Store are generously providing public restrooms for this event.

Special thanks to our volunteers, downtown business owners, supporters, and sponsors.  We appreciate the donations provided by Community Bank and Doc’s Eastside Wine and Liquor.

Coming Attractions: Downtown Thursday!

Agape Church, in partnership with Laurel Main Street, proudly presents Downtown Thursday! This is the premier community and entertainment event of the summer sponsored by Sunbelt Federal Credit Union! Downtown Thursday combines Farmers Market and Downtown Movie Night into a Thursday Night experience for all ages. This year’s season begins on Thursday, May 30 and will continue EVERY THURDAY through June 27, 2019.

The LAUREL FARMERS MARKET is back from 5pm-8pm on the 300 block of North Magnolia Street in front of our downtown merchants like Adam Trest Home, Southern Antiques, JParker Reclaimed, Café LaFleur, The Loblolly Boutique and many more. The Laurel Farmers Market is not only a great place to purchase local produce and goods, but it is a place to enjoy the day with family and friends. The Coca-Cola Stage will feature live music acts with a variety of genres country, r&b, rock, jazz and more! The Laurel Farmers Market is a rain or shine event.

“We are hoping to add even more vendors to this year’s market so we can provide a nice selection of goods. The number of vendors usually increases as the growing season progresses and there is still time to participate,” said Nece Hill, Laurel Farmers Market manager. Applications are online at DowntownThursday.com and are first come, first served for spaces.

The 10th SEASON OF DOWNTOWN MOVIE NIGHT begins at 8pm at The BACKLOT, located on the corner of N. Magnolia and Library Street. This year we have some surprises to make this the best season yet! The Kick-Off Fireworks Show is back again this year on Thursday, May 30th at 8pm! Food, drinks and T-shirts will be available for purchase each night. So, grab your friends, family, neighbors, a lawn chair, or favorite blanket and join us for a great summer in beautiful, Downtown Laurel. Vendor applications are now being accepted at DowntownThursday.com as well!

For more information, entertainment schedule, movie line-up or to purchase one of this year’s custom t-shirts, check out the Downtown Thursday websitewww.DowntownThursday.com.

Find out more on Facebook:                                        Like us on Instagram:

/downtownlaurelfarmersmarket                                  /laurelfarmersmarket

/DowntownMovieNight                                                /downtown_movie_night

Who’s Sitting in the Hot Seat?

Community Bank’s Downtown Crawfest is THIS SATURDAY, April 27!  Over 25 teams will line Front Street with crawfish pots, time-tested recipes, and a common goal — to WIN Crawfest 2019!  Judges for this year’s competition range from home cooks to professional chefs to crawfish enthusiasts and they can’t wait to see what this year’s teams serve up.

Meet the Judges

Laurel City Councilman, Tony Wheat, makes his inaugural appearance as a Crawfest judge!  Tony grew up in Laurel and has been serving the City as Councilman, Ward 2 since 2005. He has been in the restaurant business most of his life and is an avid home cook.  Seafood is his specialty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mickey Howley is a half Cajun from New Orleans lost in North Mississippi since 1999. He has the same job in Water Valley as Judi Holifield does in Laurel. He even has a Laurel connection, his paternal grandmother grew up here. Years ago when he had hair, he captained a shrimp boat named “Monkey Do II.” He has boiled many crustaceans.

 

 

 

Roderick Hollins is originally from Vicksburg, MS and holds degrees in Culinary Arts (JCJC) as well as Hotel and Restaurant Management (USM).  He is a former Culinary Arts teacher at Laurel High School, where he led his students to win multiple state awards.  Roderick is currently a local youth minister and owner of HI5Eats, where he teaches meal prep, catering and ServSafe classes.  He is married to Courtney Hollins and they have three children.

 

 

 

 

Tim Harland, a long time resident of Louisiana, is the Director of Photography on the HGTV show, Home Town. He has worked on a number of food focused shows and has enjoyed crawfish at parties from the bayous of Avoyelles to the banks of Lake Pontchatrain. He and his wife, Jean, are looking forward to spending another sweaty summer shooting the 4th season of Home Town in Laurel. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roxanne Dunn has dabbled in the culinary arts all her life.  Her mother was an Executive Chef with outstanding achievements throughout the  country. Roxanne graduated from St. Mary’s Dominican College holding a BS degree in art and a Master’s degree in Language Arts from Holy Cross University.  Various pieces of her art have been commissioned and donated to charities.   She has travelled abroad extensively and worked with “The Apple Club” in Italy for over a year.  Roxanne resides in Laurel and studies under renowned Chef John Diggetts of The Loft on Central, where on Sundays one may taste her fair. She is currently writing her memoirs as she continues her art.

 

 

 

 

 

Official Schedule of Events

7:oo a.m. — Team set up and cooking begins.  All of the teams will prepare their recipes from scratch.  No crawfish will be served until the gates open at 11:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m. — Team check in

11:00 a.m. — Gates open and judging begins! Lloyd “Hurricane” Munn & the Forecasters will entertain the crowds while they sample their way down Front Street.

2:00 p.m. — Announcement of Winners All prizes have generously been donated by our event sponsor, 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

4:00 p.m. — Event ends

7:30 p.m. — Official after party begins at Slowboat Brewing Co.  Holley Rumbarger kicks things off at 7:30, followed by Spencer Thomas of Young Valley.  As always, shows at Slowboat are open to all ages, and are pet friendly.  Please support LIVE music and LOCAL beer!

Tickets, t-shirts, and more!

For just $15 per person, you can taste as much crawfish crawfest crowdand fixins’ as your belly can handle.  For $30 per person, you’ll enjoy five pounds of crawfish from the Craw Daddy Shack, plus all the tastings from our teams. Children 12 and under eat free.  Upon entry, everyone will receive one ticket to vote for People’s Choice.  Please remember to vote for your FAVORITE crawfish!

For those who can’t or don’t eat crawfish, Chick-fil-a will be on-site with options for purchase.  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.

Please note:  Although we love our furry friends, we ask that you leave your pets at home.  Thank you!

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 bring 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 and water.

Kids’ Activities

Thanks to the generous donation of Leadership Jones County and Team “Fours of Nature” the 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 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 Façade & 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

 

Boil Master Sponsors

Big Pincher Sponsor

Southern Beverage Company

Craw Daddy Sponsors

Coca Cola United| The Craw Daddy Shack | Mississippi Power

Mud Bug Sponsors

Woodland Realty | Endom Trailer | Caves & Caves, PLLC | Kim’s No Bull | Phillip’s Building Supply | Rent-All of Laurel

Event Producers

Suez Water | The City of Laurel | Lott Furniture Co. | The Pinehurst Rathskellar Art Gallery | Laurel Main Street | Sertoma of Laurel

Stage Sponsor

Transafe, LLC