Laurel’s Main Street will be alive with activity Saturday as its well-loved Main Street Festival returns, promising a parade, food, games and entertainment for all ages to enjoy, organizers said.
The city’s largest festival, the one-day event attracts between 75,000 to 100,000 people, according to Maureen Rogers, festival organizer for Laurel Board of Trade.
“It is an opportunity for Main Street merchants to have a day to meet a lot of people,” Rogers said. “There’s everything you could possibly want.”
Festivities begin at 9 a.m. with a parade. American Legion Post 60 will be the grand marshal.
“We’re celebrating our 100th year anniversary,” said Lee Luby, Post 60 commander. “It is a pretty big deal for us.”
Luby, along with the president of the Legion’s Auxiliary and two Miss Poppy honorees will ride in the front of the parade, she said. The Legion’s color guard, Legion Riders and its junior members, who will be carrying a banner, will also parade. The Legion’s two World War II veterans will ride in golf carts.
“We pretty much do it every year, but this year we’re doing it larger than usual,” Luby said.
The parade will also feature antique cars, antique fire trucks, marching bands and performers from Laurel Mill Playhouse’s production of “Jekyll and Hyde.”
“From the very beginning, there has been a parade,” Rogers said. “We’re expecting between 50 to 60 entries this year.”
The Legion will also have a table set up on Main Street with information about membership and the activities the Legion promotes, including Laurel Little League baseball and the annual Easter Egg hunt.
“It is a good way to get out into the community,” Luby said. “We’re located at the end of Main Street and not really visible. [The festival] is a chance for us to let the community know what we do and that we are here.”
Along Main Street, service organizations, nonprofits and local businesses will have tables offering information and goods, Rogers said. There will also be lots of art and craft vendors selling everything from handmade clothing to mini picnic tables and hair accessories.
“Every year we hear back from the vendors that they enjoy the day,” Rogers said. “They enjoy meeting the people and the other vendors. We expect a lot of new people and old favorites will be here.”
Live entertainment will also be featured throughout the day on three stages.
“We have some great bands playing, and they’re all completely different, too,” Rogers said. “There will even be belly dancers on one of the stages. That will be exciting.”
Food of all types will be available, from deep-fried Oreos to kettle corn, chicken tenders and funnel cakes.
“There will be Thai, Chinese and Mexican food,” added Rogers, including her favorite, crab cakes. “That is just the icing on the cake.”
While the festival is open to everyone, people are asked to leave their pets home, Rogers said.
“No animals, please,” Rogers said. “It’s not good for them. It’s too crowded and the pavement will be too hot.”
Perhaps the biggest attraction of the festival is the people who attend it, Rogers said.
“It’s a day of fun,” Rogers said. “You see everybody here. You see all your neighbors.”