Laurel Main Street hosts annual Loblolly Festival - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Laurel Main Street hosts annual Loblolly Festival

Ben Napier, aka "Mr. Loblolly" (right), speaks to visitors at Laurel's 5th annual Loblolly Festival Saturday. Ben Napier, aka "Mr. Loblolly" (right), speaks to visitors at Laurel's 5th annual Loblolly Festival Saturday.
LAUREL, MS (WDAM) -

Organizers of Laurel's Loblolly Festival were pleased to see just a little sunshine Saturday morning and were happy that Tropical Storm Karen did not interfere with that 5th annual event. Thousands of people and dozens of vendors made their way into Laurel for that festival, which focuses attention on the downtown area. 

Visitors shopped for arts and crafts and sampled lots of different kinds of food, while children took part in all sorts of activities just for them. A few folks even took a mini-train ride through the downtown streets.

"A lot of people don't know about the downtown, so it's a great time for them to see the downtown, maybe look at some new shops they didn't know were open or didn't know was here," said Judi Holifield, executive director of Laurel Main Street, the event's sponsor. 

"It generates a buzz, it brings people into our downtown," said Ben Napier, who walked the downtown area dressed as a lumberjack in his role as, "Mr. Loblolly," the festival's mascot. "Our Main Street association took the festival over a few years ago and we've really boosted it since then," he said.

Before it was called the Loblolly Festival, the event had been known as the Main Street Festival.

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