The Home Town Finale Celebration on Monday, March 12th is quickly approaching, and Downtown Laurel is more excited than ever to kick off this spring season of events. Carrie Cullum, who works with Laurel Main Street, gives us a preview of what this spring holds that will make a day trip to Laurel or a weekend getaway worthwhile!
Downtown Laurel is waking up from hibernation and now is the perfect time to visit! Our retail stores are getting shipments of new merchandise faster than they can put them on display; the warmer temperatures are giving everyone the urge to get outside, and the extra day light hours are encouraging folks to linger a little longer.
If you’re planning a trip to Laurel during the spring, you’re in for a real treat. On Monday, March 12th, the Laurel Mercantile Co. will be the place to be. Enjoy a downtown street party with music, food, and a live screening of the final episode of Season 2 of Home Town! The evening after the season finale, be sure to stop by one of downtown Laurel’s oldest businesses, Lott Furniture Co. They host a monthly “Wine & Design” workshop. Bring your own wine and enjoy learning about entertaining, interior design, art, and more. You might even be treated to a workshop by a Home Town design team member! Can’t make it in March? No worries! They do this every second Tuesday of the month. The theme and speaker are different each time so you’re sure to get a fresh take on design no matter when you come.
If you can stick around a little longer, you’ll get to shop at the Rusty Chandelier, a monthly vintage market. The Rusty Chandelier is open the third Thursday - Sunday of each month and is just a short drive from downtown. Put on your walking shoes and get ready to shop ’til you drop. “The Rusty,” as the locals affectionately call it, is chock-full of unique vintage finds. Go on Thursday for the best selection, or go on Sunday for the best deals. Either way, you’ll probably find something you’ll have to strap to the rooftop of your car to get home. Come back for Hello Beautiful Market on April 27th-28th where vendors from across the country will line the streets of downtown selling unique vintage, antique, and handmade items in this one-of-a-kind outdoor market.
Laurel’s arts and crafts scene is blossoming too! You’re sure to enjoy the open studio space at HAND+made just around the corner from the Laurel Mercantile Co. Take a stroll down Magnolia Alley and drop in at Magnolia Alley Artist Co-op where you’ll find dozens of arts and craft projects to get your creative juices flowing.
Just a stone’s throw from the downtown business district is the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art. You don’t have to be a fine art connoisseur to enjoy the museum or its impressive collection. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art is steeped in history and character, which any museum docent will be happy to impart. Classes at the museum occur weekly. If you’re interested in taking a class from a local artist while you’re in town, click here to see if anything tickles your fancy. The museum is open Tuesday- Saturday from 9:00 - 4:45 and Sundays from 1:00 - 4:00. Admission is always free!
Laurel’s only local micro-brewery, Slowboat Brewing Company hosts live music every Saturday night. All shows are free and kid/pet friendly. Grab a pint, tour the brewery, play a game, and enjoy Laurel’s most lively music scene! Slowboat is the official after-party spot for downtown events too, so you’re sure to spot some familiar faces there. On March 22nd, the brewery will be rocking for the Rockin’ Autism Acceptance event. You’ll enjoy music from four local bands, plus Slowboat beer, and food and drinks from favorite local food trucks. All money raised on this day will directly benefit TEAAM Autism, a non-profit volunteer organization focused on the service potential for Mississippians with autism, as well as those who serve and support them.
March is nice, but April really cranks up the volume on the fun. On April 14th, big rigs will rumble into downtown for Laurel Main Street’s annual Touch a Truck event. This is a great opportunity for young ones (and the young at heart) to get up close and personal with the trucks and heavy equipment that work to make our towns and communities safe. Want to take in the view from a bucket truck just like a real electrical lineman? You can do it at Touch a Truck! Honk the horn and flash the lights on a REAL police car or climb aboard a U.S. Coast Guard ship. In addition to flashy fun with big trucks, there are children’s activities, food trucks, and lots of safe space to run and play.
The following weekend, on April 21st, Laurel Main Street raises the bar again as they partner with the Sertoma Club of Laurel to produce the inaugural Community Bank Crawfest - Crawfish Cook Off. Dozens of teams with crawfish cookers will take over Front Street in the hopes of taking home the prize for the best crawfish in town. Laurel Main Street’s events are fun for the whole community, but the most important aspect of these events is that the funds raised are put directly into the revitalization and rebuilding of our beautiful downtown. Laurel Main Street is a nationally accredited Main Street America organization that began its efforts ten years ago with a small group of committed citizens who wanted to protect and enhance the unique character of our city. It has grown into a vibrant organization supported by loyal patrons, city leaders, and entrepreneurs who seek to create a beautiful downtown district with businesses and activities for all to enjoy.
The quintessential spring time event in Laurel is Day in the Park. This year marks the 46th annual event. Day in the Park is the Laurel Arts League’s largest annual event, which takes place the first Saturday each May in Mason Park. The day begins with a 5K race followed by a Fun Run. Throughout the day, patrons can enjoy live music, student and juried art competitions, delicious festival food, children’s activities, and the works of skilled craftsmen from across the region. When you live in Laurel, you don’t miss Day in the Park, and even after you’ve moved away, your heart still feels a tug toward home at the beginning of each May.
Stroll down the avenues and breathe in the scent of sweet olive trees in bloom. Peruse the art, try your hand at a new craft, sample local flavors, and enjoy all that our beautiful, vibrant downtown has to offer.
A quick recap resource for upcoming Downtown Spring Events:
March 12th - Home Town Finale Celebration
March 22nd - Autism Event at Slowboat Brewery
April 14th - Touch A Truck
April 21st - Crawfest Crawfish Cookoff
April 27-28th - Hello Beautiful Market
May 5th - Day In The Park
Wine and Design @ Lott Furniture - every 2nd Tuesday each month
Rusty Chandelier - every 3rd weekend each month
Lauren Rogers Museum of Art
Carrie is a native of Laurel and graduated from R.H. Watkins High School. She graduated from The University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. Carrie started her social media marketing business, The Social Pages, in 2013. She enjoys partnering with small business owners and watching their businesses grow and succeed.