By Tara Goldstein 

Since 1981, The Laurel Board of Trade’s  Main Street Festival has been a beloved May tradition in Laurel. Canceled the last few years due to the pandemic and then bad weather, the popular event is scheduled to return on  May 20.

“It’s a great way to see people, reconnect with people, meet new people and discover the different types of businesses on Main Street,”  said Marilyn Meiselbach Johnson, a board member.

The festival opens with a parade at 9 a.m. featuring numerous groups, including city councilmembers, Scout troops, the American Legion Post 60 honor guard and local high school cheerleaders. Laurel Elementary School’s chorus will also be featured this year.  Laurel TV will film the parade and upload the footage to Youtube

When the parade ends around 10 a.m., residents can expect a variety of craft vendors, food trucks and live music on Main Street. New children’s events, including chalk painting, games and activities, a caricature artist and possibly a photo booth, are planned, too, according to Jim Cross, a board member. 

Businesses on Main Street will also be open. One of the biggest reasons for continuing the festival is to help local businesses get publicity, according to Cross. The event brings people to Main Street to not only check out the vendor booths, but to look at the stores along the way, too.

“We’re here to try to help Main Street and the local businesses,” Cross said.

WHG Discounts Outlet will offer special prices during the festival, according to Claudia Grant, owner, who is excited to attend the event.

“We are very small, so the festival is a nice little boost to make people aware of our business,” Grant said.

Most of the planning efforts, including details like porta-potty locations, food  permits and security detail, are done by volunteers. The board is dedicated to keeping the festival safe and making sure it’s a success for both the businesses involved and the people attending.

“We probably spend as much time organizing the Main Street Festival as the federal government does celebrating the Fourth of July on the mall,” Johnson said. “Mark your calendars, come and have fun, and  see the new and improved Main Street Festival.”

The Laurel Board of Trade Main Street Festival  takes place May 20, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.  on Main Street. For more information, go to