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 because it’s our largest Loblolly Festival EVER!  Here are some tips to help you enjoy the festival, whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned veteran.  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 stationed on West Oak St., and purchase 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 schedule:

When you arrive be sure to pick up a map.  If you’re a strategic shopper, this will definitely make it easier for you to find any specific vendors you came to see.  

2018 Loblolly map

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.

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

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

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! 

Come for the Festival, Stay for the Music

There are so many reason to look forward to fall in the south… a break from summer’s temperatures, football, pumpkin spice everything, and LOBLOLLY FESTIVAL!  This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, October 6th and will feature live music, craft demonstrations, vendors and food trucks from across the south.

Let Us Entertain You!

Our music lineup offers something for everyone!

From 9:00 -10:00 a.m the folks from Laurel Music Lessons will delight with selections from Minuets, to classic rock, to fiddle. The students (along with teachers and special guests!) will be playing a variety of music for you to enjoy!

At 10:15 a.m. Lloyd “Hurricane” Munn & the Forecasters will entertain the crowd with a wide variety of music ranging from “Buffett to Blues to Country.” You’re sure to be entertained by this fun bunch!

During the lunchtime hours (12:05-1:35 p.m.) you’ll enjoy the unique mix of original Southern rock and soul music from Midnight Revel. They bring a soulful, groove to make you move, but they aren’t afraid to let their rock influences get down and heavy! Midnight Revel recently finished recording their first full-length album at Downman Sounds Studio in New Orleans.

Be sure to stick around for Laurel’s own John Milham and The Inner Mission Band from 1:55-3:25 p.m. John Milham has been a professional musician since 1997 touring the world and playing drums with many artists. Festival goers are sure to enjoy this performance!

Rounding out our performers this year is Young Valley. They enjoy trading styles from traditional country to southern-tinged rock ‘n roll with catchy melodies, harmonica, and plenty of guitar. You might have caught their show at Slowboat Brewing Co. earlier this year and we’re so glad to have them back in town!

 

Official 2018 Loblolly Festival Music Lineup

9:00 a.m. – Laurel Music Lessons

10:15 a.m. – Lloyd “Hurrican” Munn & the Forecasters

12:05 p.m. – Midnight Revel

1:55 p.m. – John Milham and The Inner Mission Band

3:45 p.m. – Young Valley 

 

And be sure to check out Eric Woods, Paul Johnson, and Jesse Howell on The Knight Butcher stage!

Loblolly Festival: Celebrating the Town that Timber Built

Like most southerners, I have a love/hate relationship with pine trees.  They’re immensely useful when building a picnic table or fluffing flower beds with the straw they provide.  But they also wreak havoc on allergy sufferers when pollen falls in sheets, changing the color of everything on which it lands.

Love them or hate them, the graceful southern pine tree is the foundation for our town and in a few short weeks we’ll forget all about its yellow pollen and sticky sap, and celebrate the town that timber built.

From Swamps to Splendor

Eastman-Gardiner Lumber Co.

In 1891, the Gardiner brothers from Iowa arrived in Jones county and purchased a sawmill operation and 16,000 acres of timberland and the Eastman-Gardiner Lumber Company was born.  The Gardiners and their cousins, the Eastmans, sent for their families and set out to build their own slice of paradise amidst the piney woods of Laurel.  As the men developed their business, Catherine Marshall Gardiner made it her mission to create a beautiful city for her family in the yellow pine capital of the world.      

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.

The 8 Wheeled Lindsey Log Wagon

The 8 Wheeled Lindsey Log Wagon

By 1908, Mississippi ranked 3rd in the country for lumber production and Laurel was turning out 1,000,000 board feet of lumber a day.

Next, Laurel Machine & Foundry was created to supply parts for the Lindsey 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 even more opportunities for growth.

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 6, 2018 for a celebration of heritage in the town that timber built.

Scarecrow Invasion!

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!

2017 Scarecrow Harvest Winner: Crow-nado!

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 5, 2018, in time for judging and the Loblolly Festival on Saturday, October 6th.  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 2, 2018.

Judging for the top three scarecrow designs will take place

on the Friday afternoon prior to the Loblolly Festival and winners announced during the Festival.  Rumor has it that our favorite potter has been busy crafting mugs for all participants!  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.

Sip & 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 2017, 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 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!