As Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee mingled through the crowd on North Magnolia Street, a festival-goer said to him, “Looks like Laurel won today.” The visitor to downtown wasn’t talking about the high school’s recent win, but rather the boon to the city as a result of the Loblolly Festival.
Thousands of people beat the rain and basked in the sunshine while visiting merchant’s booths throughout the entire downtown area. Food vendors were in a near-constant state of being busy. Music from the newly located stage in front of Trustmark Bank rang through the streets. Laurelites, Jones Countians and plenty of visitors to our “Home Town” were treated to Laurel at its finest.
Many of those visitors who stopped by the Leader-Call’s “A Taste of Home Town” cookbook tent marveled at the turnout and the beauty of the downtown. Several merchants opened for business and attracted a steady stream of customers. The streets were packed almost elbow to elbow, the music was wonderful and smiles were abundant. Laurel police did an outstanding job being a presence and not having to intervene in much.
There was a reason Mayor Magee had a nice giddy-up in his step. All of us who call Laurel home should have that same feeling.