Petal to host Family Fun Fest, Military Appreciation night

By HASKEL BURNS,

Petal Panther football is giving fans a little something extra for Friday night’s game against the Laurel Tornadoes.

In conjunction with Family Fun Fest – which encourages families to spend time and eat meals together during the month of September – the football team is inviting the community to tailgate before the game, with a wide variety of food vendors on site. In addition, the Panthers will be observing Military Appreciation night, with all military personnel allowed in the game for no charge.

“We want to just make it a family night,” said Marcus Boyles, head coach and athletic director for the Panthers.

The tailgating begins at 5 p.m. on the practice field at Petal High School and will continue until the game starts at 7 p.m. Tailgate favorites such as chicken strips, pulled pork or brisket sandwiches, pizza and sweet tea will be available for purchase at the north end of the practice field, near the tennis courts.

Fans are invited to set up tents any time during the day Friday.

“This is the first time we’ve done this, so we’re not real sure (what kind of turnout to expect),” Boyles said. “It’s something brand new, and we’re excited about it.

“We’ll try to do some things for the kids and get them here.”

In addition to being allowed free admission with military ID, service members will be recognized on the field during halftime.

“We want to recognize those men and women that serve our country in the armed forces,” Boyles said. “One thing is, we have a ninth-grade football player whose dad served overseas about nine months, and he just got back this past week.

“It’s very honoring and humbling to see what those men and women do for our country, that sometimes we forget about. So I think it’s a way to show some appreciation to our military for the hard work they give, and the safety and security that they give us that we take for granted.”