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You’re Cordially Invited: Petal Fall Festival Among Pine Belt Autumn Events

You’re Cordially Invited: Petal Fall Festival Among Pine Belt Autumn Events

Autumn is a special time of year here in the south! Harper Lee’s novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” said it best: 

“Autumn was her happiest season. There was an expectancy about its sounds and shapes…”

Truly, fall always begins a period of anticipation in south Mississippi. Whatever your age, the cool temperatures bring not only relief from heat and humidity, but opportunities for family fun.


5K and Fun Run
On October 28, find your autumn happy place in the Friendly City of Petal. Jumpstart your day at 8 a.m., in costume, at the Halloween Hustle (712A South Main St.), a 5K and one-mile fun run sponsored by Kuntry Kidz Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created to provide educational support, exposure, inspiration, and encouragement to today’s youth. Find out more at

Petal Fall Festival
Afterwards on October 28, head to Willie Hinton Park (119 W 8th Ave.) at 10 a.m. for the Petal Fall Festival 2017.  According to Deputy City Clerk, Payroll & Fall Festival Coordinator, Wendy Lampton, “This is the seventh year we have had the festival. We began in 2011.”
Highlighting the fun-filled day are arts and crafts, a car show, Children’s Village, free entertainment, and food. 
The Children’s Village is a free event. The Petal Chamber of Commerce and Jensen Computers have teamed up to provide six or seven big, inflatable fun jumps. Calvary Baptist Church is set to create an area for smaller children with activities such as balloon animals, bobbing for apples, face-painting and temporary tattoos. 

“There is always a line for the pony rides, and we have gotten a lot of positive feedback from the fun jumps,” Lampton said, of the event.

“Many children come dressed in costume since the event is close to Halloween,” she added. “Last year, the Petal Fire Department Women’s Auxiliary had an exciting station that allowed kids to act like firefighters carrying hoses, doing obstacles, and putting out pretend fires.” She said the youngsters loved it.

A hundred vendors are expected to participate. Of those, about a dozen or so are food merchants.  Anticipate delicious possibilities: blooming onions, chicken on a stick, corndogs, fish plates, fried oreos, funnel cakes, ribeye sandwiches, sausage dogs, and snow cones. There will also be vendor offerings for children: clothing for sale and small games, such as corn hole.

A car show is planned. All proceeds will be given to Petal Cop and Shop, a program where children and police officers go shopping and buy Christmas presents. In 2016, more than 30 children benefited from Cop and Shop.

Musical entertainment brings evening atmosphere to the Petal Fall Festival. Beginning at 5 p.m., experience Blackwater and Luck of the Draw. Lonestar, the headlining band, will perform at 7 p.m.

“Please give us a try,” Lampton suggested. “Bring and invite all the adults and kids you know to our festival. We’d be happy to have you!”

Whatever you fancy, take some time with your family to enjoy autumn’s sweetness.
Other Pine Belt autumn activities include: 

  • Loblolly Festival ( — A one-day event scheduled for October 7, celebrating Laurel’s heritage as a sawmill town. Happens 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Main Street, Downtown Laurel.
  • Live at Five Concert Series ( — Free outdoor concerts begin at 5 p.m. on Fridays in October at Town Square Park, at the intersection of Main Street and Buschman Street in Hattiesburg.
  • ZooBoo ( — October 21-31, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Enjoy crafts, Halloween treats, and special animal encounters at the Hattiesburg Zoo, 107 S. 17th Ave., Hattiesburg.
  • William Carey University Women’s Soccer ( — October 28, 5 p.m. It is senior day on the pitch. The Lady Crusaders take on the University of Mobile Rams. William Carey University Women’s Head Soccer Coach, Danny Owens, said, “We would like to do a Youth Day. This is a big game for us.” Held at William Carey University, 498 Tuscan Ave., Hattiesburg.
  • Adam Trest Home ( — Check out Lily and Adam Trest’s latest offerings. Open house: November 5, 1 to 5 p.m. at 324 N. Magnolia Street, Laurel.
  • Great Russian Nutcracker ( — The 25th Anniversary Tour of the “Great Russian Nutcracker.” It happens November 14 at 7 p.m. at the Historic Saenger Theater, 201 Forrest St., Hattiesburg. Phone: (601) 584-4888.
  • A Very Vintage Christmas ( and — It happens November 16, 5 to 8 p.m. and November 17, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 414 Front St., Laurel.
  • Christmas in the Village ( — 34th annual, fun, old-fashioned Christmas celebration at Landrum’s Homestead & Village. It takes place November 25-26 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 1356 Highway 15 S., Laurel. 

Mary C. Fairley, a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, is a freelance writer and a retired Medical Technologist. Mary is a wife, mother and grandmother. Her favorite role for fall is chauffeuring her grandchildren to dance, gymnastics, and soccer.

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