Laurel throwing a block party for Ellicott City

A banner with the message "Hope" was erected after the last Ellicott City flood two years ago.
A banner with the message "Hope" was erected after the last Ellicott City flood two years ago. (Amy Davis / Baltimore Sun)

The city of Laurel is extending a helping hand to neighboring Ellicott City by hosting a Main Street Block Party to raise money for flood relief efforts.

Leigha Steele, Laurel’s economic development coordinator, said the event is “helping to rebuild a community of small businesses in Old Ellicott City.”


In late May, Ellicott City was devastated by a second deadly flood in less than two years.

“We want to be able to help the residents and business owners of Ellicott City rebuild after the flooding in May of this year,” Steele said, in an email. “As a Main Street ourselves, it is important to support other communities like ours in their time of need.”

The block party will be Aug. 17, from 6 to 9 p.m. in Laurel’s Main Street district. It will feature music, an art workshop, kids activities, vendors, food trucks, raffles and more.

Entrance to the event is free, with funds from vendor fees and raffles directly benefiting the Ellicott City Partnership, a nonprofit, according to Steele.

Lexi Milani, vice president of the Ellicott City Partnership, said the partnership is beyond grateful of all the organizations that have reached out to have fundraisers and offer in-kind donations for flood relief.

“Speaks to the fact that Ellicott City is a really special place,” Milani said. “One of the silver linings is that Ellicott City is developing relationships with other towns and nonprofit organizations that we didn’t have before.”

Milani is looking forward to the Laurel event and hopes it will be a huge party.

“It’s cool that it’s a main street to main street event,” Milani said.

All participation fees, charged to owners of food trucks and vendors, will be donated to the nonprofit, Steele said. There are currently four food trucks and 20 vendors scheduled to participate.

The food trucks include Flat Chance, which makes flat bread; Murazzi Pizza, with wood-fire pizza; Mardi Gras Tyme, which makes New Orleans-style cuisine; and ShortNee Street Eatz, which features Philly cheesesteaks.

Sip at C Street Flats, a local Laurel-based coffee shop, will have drink specials and is donating a portion of its sales to the nonprofit.

Vendors, including Mary Kay Cosmetics, Heartland Home Foods and Thompson Creek Window Co., will sell clothing, beauty products, jewelry, baked goods and more.

The Laurel Arts Council is planning a variety of free craft activities with elements of painting and drawing for the community, and will also be selling art kits LAC members have created.


One kit includes paper mache pots and patterned tissue paper, which can be applied with brushes and craft glue to create colorful, functional pots for small plants. Visitors will also be able to purchase a kit and make it on site, or take it home with them, , according to Nadia Janjua, secretary of LAC.

For a fee, another on-site activity will be marble painting using shaving cream and food coloring. All proceeds will benefit Old Ellicott City.

“The Laurel Arts Council is honored to be a part of this effort and we will be present to share information and answer any questions about our group's mission, future events and public projects at this event,” Janjua wrote in an email.

Pongos Learning Lab and Coder Kids Club also donated a Retro Gaming Party to be raffled off.

Breasia Production donated a paradise game truck, which is a mobile game truck where anyone can go inside and play video games on either PlayStations or Wii U’s.

There is no set fundraising goal, Steele said, but the goal is to raise as much money as possible while also having a community family-friendly event.