The deep South: fall activities a gas tank away

The Voodoo Music Experience/Courtesy Photo
The Voodoo Music Experience/Courtesy Photo

As many of you may know, Hattiesburg is referred to as the Hub City. As such, Hattiesburg is located roughly two hours away from New Orleans, the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Mobile.

With this prime location comes many benefits, especially during fall and winter. As football season comes to a close and the holidays are just around the corner, a lot of students begin to look for fun, unique things to do on the weekend.

When most people think of the Big Easy, they think of crawfish, Mardi Gras and an ice-cold daiquiri. But, did you know New Orleans is the home of one of the nation’s largest Halloween celebrations? From cemetery tours to haunted houses, the city of New Orleans offers tourists and natives many ways to get spooky during October.

Another big event that takes place around Halloween is the Voodoo Music Experience. Every year, music and art lovers unite for a three-day weekend where they can “Worship the Music.” The festival has three aspects: music, art and of course, good Cajun cookin’. This year the festival will take place Halloween weekend featuring artists such as Outkast, Awolnation, Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys.

I am a native of Mobile. As a kid, one of my favorite places to visit in Mobile was Bellingrath Gardens. According to the garden’s website, the estate is 65 acres large with azaleas blooming in the spring and camellias blooming in the winter. One of its grandest attractions is the Magic Christmas in Lights. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving and ending around the beginning of January, visitors get the pleasure of walking through Mobile’s own winter wonderland filled with lights, hot chocolate and, sometimes, Christmas carolers.

Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama/ Courtesy Photo
Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, Alabama/ Courtesy Photo

During the fall seasons, Mobile also offers many other events such as health awareness benefits and monthly art walks. And, trust me, there is nothing better than grabbing a coffee from Serda’s Coffee Company on Royal Street and strolling through the streets of downtown Mobile just as the winter chill is coming in.

And last, but certainly not least, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is home to many fun events for the fall and winter seasons. The Christmas City gift show located in the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Convention Center in Biloxi attracts visitors from all over the coast. From offering 300 plus booths for visitors to buy crafts and gifts to a 5K and 1-mile fun run to a photograph booth with Santa Claus himself, this weekend in November is one that no one wants to miss. Rich in history, according to Christmas City’s website, the event began in 1983 by Ron Meyers. He has held Christmas Cities in many different cities, including Hattiesburg, but the one in Biloxi has proven to be the most successful.

Also in November is the Peter Anderson Arts, Crafts and Food Festival located in downtown Ocean Springs. According to the festival’s website, “it has grown to one of the Southeast’s premiere arts and crafts festivals.” It also said, “last year’s crowd was estimated at 150,000 people and 400 booths for the popular Ocean Springs event.” The Peter Anderson festival honors artists from the Mississippi Gulf Coast such as Anderson himself.

As you can see, there is much to be offered during these upcoming months by our neighboring cities. So instead of staying inside and complaining when there is “nothing to do around here,” grab a few friends, hop in the car and explore the benefit of going to school in a city near so many exciting places.

This is an article of opinion written by Printz Reporter Mary Sergeant, [email protected]