LAUREL HILL — With thousands expected to turn out for the LaurelFest, organizers say the 16th annual event will again focus a spotlight on what the town has to offer.
The two-day event is expected to bring in around 3,000 people, beginning on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and continuing Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. near the Laurel Hill Community Center.
The weekend’s festivities begin with the Hometown Jubilee, featuring Danny Revels as well as singers from Scotland and surrounding counties.
“Friday is a fun time to bring everyone together to kick off the activities and enjoy some food from the vendors before the big day Saturday,” said Billy Ray Norris, Jr. a sponsor and organizer.
Saturday is the bigger of the two days with most of the visitors coming for the day’s events. There will be a snake and bee exhibit, bounce houses, face painting, Elvis impersonator, storytelling, and clogging. Organizers have added a rock wall and a dunking booth.
There will be a performance by the Southern Pines band Dark Horse. The group was voted best local band in 2017.
“We like to use local talent,” Norris said. “We don’t want to be going out of town to find talent for a local event. We want to keep everything local, that’s the whole point.”
The event will also honor local businesses in Laurel Hill. Last year, the festival recognized teachers and the school system
“We look at the festival as a way to give back to our community,” Norris said. “That’s why we do it is to have the community in one space with fellowship and good food bringing them together.”
About 45 vendors have signed up to sell food and crafts. More are expected to sign up for the weekend’s events.
“This is the most we’ve had signed up in recent years,” Norris said. “There will be chicken, collards, fish, funnel cakes, snow-cones, we’ll have everything. We also have multiple craft vendors from string art, jewelry, to embroidery.”
Admission to the festival is free with handicap parking as well as golf carts available.
According to the National Weather Service, Friday will be sunny with a high near 90 and a low near 65 and Saturday will be mostly sunny with a high near 91.
“It’s going to be a fun weekend and we enjoy being able to put it on,” Norris said.
The community center is in the former Laurel Hill school building on Church Street and Parsonage Avenue.
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171