Memphis in May International Festival Announces Czech Republic As 2018 Honored Country

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Memphis in May International Festival held their 2017 Annual Meeting at the Memphis Botanic Garden at 5:30 on Thursday evening. Festival officials reviewed the results of the forty-first festival and announced Czech Republic as the 2018 honored country.

Celebrating the Czech Republic is the year-long focus of the 2018 Memphis in May International Festival.  The Czech Republic is the twelfth European country to be honored in the festival’s history, and its selection by Memphis in May International Festival coincides with their celebration of 100 years as an independent nation, beginning as Czechoslovakia in 1918.  

“We are proud to honor such an economically strong and culturally rich country,” stated James L. Holt, president and CEO of Memphis in May International Festival. “While the Czech Republic’s long history offers much for Memphians to discover, the opportunity to look to their future as one of Europe’s emerging leaders is exciting.”

Hynek Kmoníček, Czech Republic's Ambassador to the United States said, “I am delighted that the Memphis in May International Festival has chosen to highlight the vibrancy of the Czech Republic in 2018, bringing exceptional talent from the heart of Europe, accentuating the many feats of my homeland, and simultaneously coinciding with celebrations surrounding the 100 years of Czech independence.”

The Czech Republic is a nation with 10 million inhabitants, situated in the middle of Europe, with Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Poland as its neighbors.  Known for its rich historical and cultural heritage, more than a thousand years of Czech history has produced over 2,000 castles, chateaux, and fortresses. The country resonates with beautiful landscapes, including a chain of mountains on the border, deep forests, refreshing lakes, as well as architectural and urban masterpieces. Its capital city of Prague is known for stunning architecture and welcoming people, and is the fifth most-visited city in Europe as a result.

The late twentieth century saw the Czech Republic rise as one of the youngest and strongest members of today’s European Union and NATO.  Interestingly, the Czech Republic is known for peaceful transitions; from the Velvet Revolution in which they left Communism behind in 1989, to the Velvet Divorce in which they parted ways with Slovakia in 1993.  Boasting the lowest unemployment rate in the European Union, the Czech Republic’s stable economy is supported by robust exports, chiefly in the automotive and technology sectors, with close economic ties to Germany and their former countrymen in Slovakia.  

Each year, an advance trip to preview the honored country is organized.  Memphis in May International Festival Board Chair Kristen Wright and James L. Holt will lead the trip to the Czech Republic on March 24-31, 2018.  Those interested in the trip can call the Memphis in May International Festival office at 901-525-4611 for more information.

In addition to this year’s honored country, the 2018 festival dates were announced as follows:

Beale Street Music Festival: May 4-6, 2018
International Week: May 7–13, 2018
World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest: May 16-19, 2018
Great American River Run: May 26, 2018
901Fest: May 26, 2018

Of special note in these dates is the return placement of 901Fest and the Great American River Run to the same day, Saturday, May 26, 2018. 

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