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

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.

#GetDowntown This Thursday!

The temperatures are rising and school’s out for summer! Everyone is looking forward to the longer days and activities that summer brings. A favorite summertime event in Laurel is “Downtown Thursday,” a series of family-friendly evenings every Thursday night beginning May 30 and lasting until June 27. 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 p.m. and will continue with a family-friendly movie at The Backlot. Each night will feature live music on the Coca-Cola Main 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, with kids’ activities, food trucks, and live music! At its new location on North Magnolia Street, the Laurel Farmers Market will be open for business from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. 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 30 – through June 27.

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

Farmers Market Entertainment Line-up

entertainment lineup

 

Downtown Movie Night

Downtown Movie Night is a highly anticipated summertime event and it 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.

movie line up

 

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

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

Time to Turn up the Heat!

On Saturday, April 27, 2019, Downtown Laurel will welcome the hungry masses for our second Crawfest!  Teams from across the south will bring their top secret crawfish recipes to compete in the 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 8:00 a.m. the teams will begin setting up and decorating their booths along Front Street.  Feel free to come early, 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. The event officially begins at 11:00 a.m. when Lloyd “Hurricane” Munn & the Forecasters take the stage.  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.  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 at noon.  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!

We’ll also be “splitting the pot” for a chance to win a cash prize!  Purchase one ticket for $10 or 5 tickets for $40 at Community Bank or at Crawfest.  You do not have to be present to win.

At noon, 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 and live music at Slowboat Brewing!

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 Chick-fil-a of Laurel will be on-site!

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 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.crawfest serve