Although the thermometer isn’t showing it, we are entering the best time of year to be in Jones County — if only that big, hot dry ridge of air would leave once and for all. It has been a tough summer, with temperatures soaring into the 90s almost every day since, heck, we can’t remember that far back.

The good news, as any minor weather-guesser will tell you, is that it has kept the hurricanes away. We will take that over being cool for a few extra weeks every day of the week. 

It looks as if the weather will be pristine for Saturday’s annual Loblolly Festival, one of the finest street festivals in Mississippi. Loblolly, presented by Laurel Main Street, seemingly grows bigger and bigger each year. That recent growth can be attributed, in part, to the amazing work being done by Ben and Erin Napier and the “Home Town” crew. They have been instrumental in the revitalization of Laurel, and that rebirth shows no signs of slowing.

Loblolly, on the first Saturday of each October, has something for everyone. The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art will have its children’s art festival on the front lawn, giving festival-goers even more options.

Take a stroll through the entire downtown and marvel at the creative works being produced as part of the downtown scarecrow contest — another highlight of October. It is truly magical how businesses get into the holiday spirit.

Also this weekend is the peanut festival at Mitchell Farms off Highway 84 in Covington County. The family-friendly festival is one of the best, making for one busy weekend in the Free State.

Later in October will be the “Shop 16th” event, highlighting the myriad businesses along Laurel’s busiest thoroughfare. 

Before long, it will be Halloween and Thanksgiving. And we are so hopeful that those Mason Park Christmas lights will illuminate the city in the season. That will be followed by Christmas shopping — shop local! — and then we will be ringing in the New Year opining on how cold it has gotten outside.

Yes, we are getting ahead of ourselves. But it is difficult not to get excited about living in Jones County when the calendar rolls into October. 

Enjoy it.

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