LAUREL HILL — Though its namesake may not be the biggest town on the map, this weekend’s Laurel Fest will combine music, games, and community flair to offer something for every one of the thousands expected to attend.
The free event will celebrate its 14th year at the Laurel Hill Community Center, running on Friday from noon until 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
“It was started by a group of local people from the Laurel Hill area that just wanted to give back to the community something special,” said committee member Connie Coleman.
A Friday evening gospel singing will begin at 5 p.m. with Lisa Fore, Wayne Freeman, Candy Pate, and Danny Revels as Homeward Bound.
Other acts performing throughout the event will include Breath of Fresh Air, Pete Yow as “The One Man Band,” an Elvis impersonator, live storytellers, school music groups, cloggers and jazz dancers.
Keeping its tradition of honoring a different group each year, the event will nod to the medical community with free blood pressure and cholesterol screenings on Saturday morning.
Pony and camel rides, a train, a petting zoo, inflatable slides, and other activities will also be open during the event — all at no cost. Food vendors will offer everything from collards, fish, and barbecue to funnel cakes and ice cream.
Though the event committee has undergone changes over the years, the same core group has organized Laurel Fest since its inception — which Coleman describes as a year-round project.
“After the festival we’ll meet in June and then take a couple of months off, then we’ll start again planning up to the festival,” she said.
“We would love to see this continue and we’d love to have some new blood come in to help keep it going. I just think it’s a special way to get together, meet up with old friends and meet new friends. Families get together there; it’s just a place to go and enjoy a day.”
Today is the final day to register for a booth at this year’s Laurel Fest. To register, call Coleman at 910-462-2424.
The Laurel Hill Community Center is located in the former Laurel Hill school building on Church Street and Parsonage Avenue.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.