Although my memories may differ from some, Petal, Mississippi is a town where similarities happen all too often. When you live in a small town where there is only so much to do, your chances of running into someone you may know are high. Petal may not have much, but it does have a close community built on a foundation of neighbors as friends, and a Walmart to bring us all together for a reunion. Because you can bet you’ll almost always see someone you know every time you go.
Everywhere ya look, there’s a familiar face
Whenever you go anywhere in Petal, Mississippi, be prepared to run into someone you know.
Burkett’s Skating Rink
To the Petal, Mississippi community, the meaning of “Burkett” was so much more than an “Area of birch trees”. Anyone living in this town knew of Burkett’s Skating Rink. It was THE place to be for kids & teens of all ages. It was like a second home to so many kids. Most parents would even drop their children off until closing time because it was safe. . . and safe it was. Burkett’s holds not only my memories, but hundreds more. It’s unfortunate that in January, 2017, a natural disaster decided for us that it was time to tear her down. I guess there’s always our memories, and at least we still have our Petal Roller Dome.
The Great South Fair & Mud Bog
Some of my favorite times were spent at The Great South Fair & Mud Bog. This was a compilation anywhere from eating contests to getting “down & dirty”, literally! Every year that the fair came, especially on the weekends, Petal, Mississippi was like a ghost town. If you weren’t at one, you were at the other and that’s just how it was. I rode all the rides to the point of making myself sick and I stayed out as late as I could. There’s something about listening to the screaming engines of trucks roaring through the mud. Talk about a blast.
Hub City Dragway
If you wanted an adrenaline rush, you went to watch the races! Hub City Dragway was always entertaining with contests from lightning fast rides. Day or Night, this place has always had a great turn out. In the recent years, a Petal resident was even recognized for his racing skills and was asked to star in Discovery Channel’s ‘Street Outlaws’. Since that time, Hub City Dragway has sustained business and is doing better than ever.
Union Falls may not specifically be in Petal, Mississippi City Limits, but we were always there. Tucked away in Jones County, this hidden waterfall was the hangout spot for everyone. I remember walking in the woods for what seemed like an eternity and then finally reaching our destination to this gorgeous view. It’s almost as if we had found a secret hiding spot. The water wasn’t blue and the bugs were ridiculous but we didn’t care.
Thrill Hills & Back roads
You know that feeling you get when you’re on a ride at the fair and your stomach goes in your throat? Well, when the Petal fair wasn’t in town, we made our own rides. Flying up and down hills to where our wheels almost came off the ground! Again and again we’d reach the perfect speed and that feeling of our stomachs in our throats never got old. It wasn’t anything for a bunch of us to hop in the car and ride back roads until we were almost out of gas. I guess you could say we made our own fun. When you may be too broke to go out or too tired to get dressed up, “riding back roads” was a common hobby we all had.
Panther Pride Football
The heart of Petal runs deep with Panther Pride! Just like in the movies, our town comes together for every game and cheers for every away game. Ever since I was old enough to remember a game, football in Petal was always a blast. In the past, games were held at our old field which is located at Petal Middle School. Now we currently have a brand-new stadium that’s perfect for all Petal fans! I love being a part of a small town where every place you go there are bumper stickers all the way to t-shirts with Panther designs on them. There’s nothing better than being a Petal Panther!!
There isn’t much to do around Petal, Mississippi or the surrounding cities, so if you didn’t feel up to going out, building a bonfire was always an option. Doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold, day or night, a bonfire is always a good idea. . . well, unless it rains. We’d all gather around and just shoot the shit for hours. It’s so entertaining that something so simple can be enjoyed by so many. It’s kid friendly, it’s inviting & comfortable, and it’s relaxing. It’s such a good experience to share with your friends and loved ones. I’ve had many bonfires and have been to many more. This will forever be one of my favorite things to do.
The Leaf River
Now, Union Falls is a hidden gem, but Leaf River holds its own experiences. Fishing is absolutely hands down one of my favorite things to do… EVER! I can’t describe the feeling when you get a tug on your line and then suddenly the bobber sinks. It’s absolute satisfaction and then when you yank the hook and catch the fish, PRICELESS! I could spend hours on end fishing, it’s seriously my happy place. Other than fishing, I’ve had so much fun doing other things on the Leaf River. Tubing with friends, jumping off rope swings, sun bathing on a bank somewhere, you name it, I’ve done it. The Leaf River is an escape place and I’m glad our little town has the convenience to take advantage of it.
El Mariachi Loco
El Mariachi is hands down the best restaurant in Petal. This place truly brings our community together with its good service and great food! I’ve been eating here for years and I’m still obsessed! If you love Mexican, you’ll love this place. Sometimes I even come here just for the chips and dip lol, it’s just that good!
Well as you’ve read, Petal may not be some huge city with entertainment around every corner, but it’s my home and I love every bit of it. I have memories here that I’ll cherish forever, friends who have come and gone, and some who I’m still close with. No matter the good or the bad, this place holds value to me and will always be home. Maybe one day you’ll find your simplicity.