Thank You for Another Incredible Loblolly Festival!

Another festival is in the books!  THANK YOU for an INCREDIBLE Loblolly Festival! Our vendors, volunteers, sponsors, and attendees made this year’s festival one for the record books and proved that the threat of a little rain couldn’t keep our festival-goers at bay!  Thank you to all who came out to stroll through the streets of Downtown Laurel, listen to great music, enjoy delicious food, shop and play!

A huge THANK YOU goes out to all who worked so hard to make this year’s festival such a grand success!

First, we would like to thank the Laurel Main Street volunteers and board members for making this day possible and for helping us organize this incredible event. The Loblolly Festival just wouldn’t be possible without you!

Next, thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors, especially Howard Industries, Jones County Board of Supervisors and Chamber of Commerce, Sanderson Farms, Southern Beverage, B Clean LLC, South Central Regional Medical Center, Trustmark National Bank, BancorpSouth, Enviro, Gilchrist Sumrall Yoder Yoder & Leggett PLLC, Community Bank, Holt & Associates, Magnolia State Bank, and First State Bank.

To the City of Laurel, the Laurel Police Department, Laurel Fire Department and Parks & Recreation Department — thank you for your support and for helping to keep the festival-goers, vendors, musicians and volunteers safe!

Many organizations came together to cover the logistics of producing an event of this size. We are so appreciative of your time and efforts to make this all possible.  We would specifically like to thank Studio 5 Fifty, Own Your Hill, Black Horn Productions, Slowboat Brewing Co., and Clairmont & Co.

We appreciate the efforts of the local media and your continued support and coverage of this great event. With the help of the Laurel Leader-Call, The Impact, WDAM, B95, Rock 104, and SuperTalk, we were able to reach and serve more locals and out of town folks than ever before!

We would like to thank the Laurel Arts League for their partnership in producing the Art on Masonite contest.  Congratulations to these fine young artists!

Art on Masonite

3rd Place – James Englert, South Jones

Art on Masonite

3rd Place – Karson Wardell, West Jones

Art on Masonite

2nd Place – Kaitlin Jarrell, South Jones

Art on Masonite

1st Place – J.P. Person, West Jones High School

Scarecrow Harvest

Thank you to all the businesses who participated in this year’s Scarecrow Harvest!  It was a rousing success and saw more participation and creativity than we ever envisioned!  Congratulations are in order for these outstanding participants!

Honorable Mention

Patina’s, Dunn Roadbuilders, Rasberry Financial Services, Creative Computer, Today’s Furniture, and Peddler’s JUNKtion

3rd Place

Brooke & Rea Boutique

Brooke and Rea

“Marilyn Mon-CROW”

2nd Place

Oak Street Salon

Oak Street Salon

“The Headless Horseman”

1st Place

Magnolia State Bank

Magnolia State Bank

“CROW-nado”

Lastly, we would like to thank the residents and business owners of Downtown Laurel. Your help in clearing the streets before the festival and graciously allowing us to fill the downtown area with tents, rides, and food trucks, is absolutely vital to the success of an event such as this. Your continued support for the efforts of Laurel Main Street makes us so proud to call Downtown Laurel home!

See y’all next year at Loblolly Festival — Saturday, October 6, 2018!

 

Loblolly: The Power of the Historical Name

If you’ve ever stepped foot in or near Laurel, Mississippi when the pollen is falling in sheets and buckets, then you’ve experienced an integral part of being a true southerner — the love (and hate) of the southern pine tree.

The tall, resilient pine has long been the backdrop of the storied history of Laurel, Mississippi.

The Town That Timber Built

As the Eastmans, Gardiners and Rogers came in from Iowa to settle right here in Jones County it was the tall, swaying, yellow pines surrounded by beautiful, flowering Laurel bushes that inspired them to stay.

Industry – and the livelihoods it provided – was beckoning to their entrepreneurial souls, and soon The Eastman-Gardiner Lumber Co. was founded and Laurel became the yellow pine capital of the world.

The history of Laurel, MS Central Ave in Historical Laurel, MS

 

Like many great innovators before him, John Lindsey watched the progress of the ever-growing lumber town. He recognized a need and created a way to solve it. Soon, The 8-wheeled Lindsey Log Wagon was patented and folks from all over the world came to hear of a little town in South Mississippi.

Next, Laurel Machine & Foundry was created to supply parts for the wagon and William H. Mason invented a process to create a hardboard from the waste provided by the mills, supplying the little piney woods town with more jobs and more opportunities for growth.

The History of Masonite Corporation

Each inspiration, each problem solved was another brick laid in the bustling streets of a town on the rise. Laurel owes its foundation and its very spirit to the yellow Loblolly pine and those who saw ever-present opportunity even as the pollen covered their boots.

Be a #LoblollyLover and join us on Saturday, October 7, 2017 for a celebration of heritage in the town that timber built.

 

What is Loblolly Festival?

Celebrating 10 Years Rebuilding Mississippi’s DowntownSaturday October 7, 2017 · 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 2017 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 2017 Loblolly Festival in downtown Laurel!

Saturday, October 7th from 9am ’til 4pm

Sip and Stroll in Downtown Laurel

In a few short weeks crowds of festival-goers will descend upon downtown Laurel.  Whether you’re venturing out for Laurelpalooza or Loblolly Festival, you’ll definitely want to be in the know about Laurel’s Leisure and Recreation District.  Effective July 1st, the “to-go cup ordinance” allows dining establishments to offer a to-go cup for patrons who wish to finish their beverage outside of the restaurant or bar.

Here’s What You Need to Know Before You Go

  1. Patrons are required to go inside of a restaurant or bar to purchase a beverage.  Leaving the site drink in hand is fine — as long as you stay within the boundaries of the leisure district, which is considered the walkable business district in downtown Laurel.  Maps of the Downtown Leisure/Social District will be available at downtown businesses and restaurants. 
  2. To-go cups are issued at the discretion of individual establishments.  The owner, manager, or bartender has the right to refuse a to-go cup to any individual they believe may be in danger of being over-served.
  3. Only one (non-glass) container will be issued per person over the age of 21 — sorry, no double fisting! 
  4. Please finish your beverage before entering another establishment. 

In 2016, House Bill 1223 was signed into law, which authorized certain municipalities in the state to establish recreation and leisure districts.  Other cities that already have recreation and leisure districts include Gulfport, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Ridgeland, Vicksburg, Natchez, Clinton and Cleveland.

The energy in downtown Laurel is already palpable.  Laurel Main Street looks forward to the continued economic growth in downtown and the rebirth of nightlife in The City Beautiful!

Start Small — Do Big: The Power of Baby Steps

The Power of Baby Steps

The Laurel Mercantile has a fantastic print and now a mug with the uplifting saying, “We have the POWER to do this.”  This phrase was coined by the director of the HGTV series, Home Town, during their first summer of filming in sweltering South Mississippi.  However, this phrase can be applied to anything.  We like to apply this winning saying to our efforts as a Main Street America Accredited organization.  

What started as a small, grass-roots movement to bring back Laurel’s downtown to its former glory has become a booming trend!  It didn’t happen overnight or even over a year, but with a series of small, incremental improvements, these efforts provided momentum for long-term economic transformation and improved quality of life in our community.  In the world of small towns and Main Street organizations this is referred to as “incrementalism.” Incrementalism is not flashy.  It’s several small changes that take place over a period of time… like a domino chain reaction in slow motion. 

Incremental Work

For decades, the community and economic development field was hooked on what Patrice Frey, President & CEO of the National Main Street Center calls the “silver-bullet solution.” Shrinking budgets sent city leaders on a search for the “one big thing” that would transform their local economy, whether it was a big new commercial development, a pedestrian mall, or a convention center on the outskirts of town.  Those of you who lived in Laurel through Urban Renewal will definitely remember the development of all these things.  However, through years of research, we have learned that what our town has is much more important than what it’s missing.  By focusing on what sets our community apart from others, Laurel Main Street, together with the City of Laurel and our partners, has been able to restore a thriving city center in downtown.

One of the special things about being part of Main Street America is that we aren’t doing this incremental work alone. We rely on a national network of partners and supporters.  We are incredibly thankful for our city leaders for creating the environment for success by adding wayfinding signage,  improving our streets, adding lighting, bike paths, ad valorem tax credits and continuing to work toward improving city services that businesses rely on.

Some would say that a town’s exports are the measure of its success, but at Laurel Main Street we believe it’s the people, not the products that are the heart of our town’s success story. These small steps and small victories have provided Laurel residents with an optimism about the future, a true sense of community pride, and a productive spirit of unity.  We consider that a true success story.