Laurel Hill Arts and Heritage Festival returns after COVID-19 cancellation, rain delay

Tony Judnich
Northwest Florida Daily News

LAUREL HILL — Okaloosa County’s oldest city is preparing to enjoy one of its most-cherished yearly celebrations.

Featuring arts, crafts, live music, food vendors and more, the 10th annual Laurel Hill Arts and Heritage Festival is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, June 5, on the grounds of Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church at 8115 Fourth St.

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The 10th annual Laurel Hill Arts and Heritage Festival is set for Saturday, June 5, on the grounds of Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church.

Admission is free and so is parking, which will be available next to the Laurel Hill School’s track on the corner of Fourth Street and Park Place.

Each festival usually draws about 250 to 300 attendees, festival chairman Brian Hughes said.

This year’s celebration initially had been set for April 24 but was ambushed by a rainstorm.

“When we had to cancel, we had so many people asking to reschedule,” said Hughes, who added that several of those folks were exhibitors.

Hughes was happy to share that the rescheduled fest will feature the most exhibitors in the event’s history.

They will include 18 artists and crafters who will have paintings, photos, sculptures, jewelry and crafts made of driftwood and other native materials for sale. An array of jams, jellies and relishes also will be available for purchase.

Other vendors will provide pulled-pork sandwiches, hot dogs and Filipino eggrolls and noodle stir fry. Crestview Boy Scout Troop 773 will offer “Scout Cobbler” and the host church will offer baked goods.

Live music will be provided by the 50-piece North Okaloosa Community Band, Emerald Coast Pipes and Drums joined by members of Santa Rosa Pipes and Drums, and the Emerald Coast Community Band.

The festival also will include demonstrations by the Crestview Police Department’s K-9 Division, COVID-19 vaccinations administered by the state Department of Health in Okaloosa County and a book and movie sale to benefit the Laurel Hill Little Free Library and the Little Readers Free Library.

Live music is one of the many highlights of the annual Laurel Hill Arts and Heritage Festival.

Also on hand will be members of the Walton Guard Civil War re-enactors, as well as other culture and heritage groups such as the Baker Block Museum, North Okaloosa Heritage Association and the Crestview Area Sister City Program, which partners with Noirmoutier, France.

“We are just delighted,” the Rev. Mark Broadhead, pastor of Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church, said in a statement about the rescheduled festival. “There was a lot of disappointment in the community and in the church when we had to cancel, but obviously someone upstairs had bigger plans for us!”