Over the past several years – and in several strategic planning sessions in her role as executive director of the Petal Area Chamber of Commerce – Valerie Wilson has heard many requests for more events in Petal, similar to Hattiesburg’s Live @ Five and Art Walk.
Enter the first ever Downtown FAM Jam (short for Food, Art and Music), scheduled from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 15 at Wilson Square Park, behind Petal Family Dentistry on South Main Street in Petal.
“They’ve said they wanted family-oriented events that’ll bring us all together, and we can hang out in downtown,” Wilson said. “Especially in recent years, they’ve looked to our sister city … and have said that we need stuff like that.
“So the Downtown FAM Jam is an attempted answer to those wishes. We are just wanting to put together an event that will allow all of our residents to come together and relax. It’s free, it’s family-friendly, and it will be in an area that is really one of the prettiest areas in downtown Petal.
The event – which is hosted by the chamber and Grand Central Outfitters, and sponsored by HomeCare Hospice South and Southern Lace Boutique – will feature arts and crafts and face painting for children. Food vendors include Chick-fil-A, Domino’s, Poppa’s Family Barbeque and kettle corn.
“So people will have their choice, with several different vendors to choose from,” Wilson said. “Then the Petal Arts Council will be sponsoring a couple of vendor spots, where they will have hands-on art activities for the kids, and they can make items to take home with them.”
Musical entertainment will be provided by Petal native Eric Woods, who is known for his Americana and Alternative Country style.
“He’s well-known to Petal people,” Wilson said. “He’s played before at our Petal Farmer’s Market, and of course he plays a lot at Sully’s.”
Wilson said although the Petal Panthers football team will more than likely be in a playoff game the evening of Downtown FAM Jam, attendees will still have time to come to the event and watch or listen to the game afterwards.
“We don’t know where the game might be played, whether it will be in Petal or somewhere else, because that’s determined by the playoff seed,” she said. “But people will still have at least an hour or two hours where they can come by and enjoy the FAM Jam, and then listen to the game or go to the game, depending on how far away it is.
“For those people that are not going to the game, they can definitely bring their radios and listen to it while they also listen to music in the park and be a part of the event.”
This being the first time Downtown FAM Jam has ever been held, event organizers will gauge the turnout to decide whether to host the event in the future.
“That’s why we’re (telling) people, if this is the kind of event they want, then we need to support it so that we can continue to invest in it,” Wilson said.