Memphis in May to Relocate from Tom Lee Park in 2021

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Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland announced last week that Memphis in May events will be held in Tom Lee Park in 2020 but in an alternate location in 2021.

We appreciate the Mayor’s leadership in this process and the time his staff and Justice Janice Holder have put into mediation. We are excited to be back in Tom Lee Park in 2020 for the forty-fourth edition of Memphis in May, and having this assurance now allows us to finalize plans we have already been working on for next year. 

As mediation continues, we look forward to reaching the goal which we have all had from the beginning: allow Memphis in May to maintain its financial viability with its long term event home in Tom Lee Park and substantial economic impact while enhancing our beautiful riverfront with an improved park for all Memphians.

2019 Annual Meeting

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We’re just days away from unveiling the preliminary results of the 2019 Memphis in May events saluting the City of Memphis. We’ll also announce the dates for next year's events and our 2020 honored country, introduce our new board members, and recognize the volunteers who made this year’s success possible. We hope you’ll join us at our Annual Meeting and Volunteer Awards to find out more about our record-setting year ending with a gross revenue of more than $12 million! Our 2018 economic impact totaled $137 million and we expect a greater number as we recap the 2019 results. We’ll see you at the Memphis Botanic Gardens on Wednesday, August 14 from 5:30p – 7:30p.

Beale Street Music Festival

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Artist booking for the 2020 Beale Street Music Festival is underway! Head over to the BSMF Facebook page next week and weigh in on the top three artists you would like to see in Tom Lee Park next May.

Mark your calendar for October 4 - a limited number of early bird three-day passes will go on sale. Score the hottest ticket at the lowest price of the year! You'll be happy you did next May.

World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest


The 43rd annual Superbowl of Swine is making its return to Tom Lee Park in 2020! For those itching to get the competition underway, be aware that #WCBCC20 team applications will open on Friday, October 18. 

If you're not on a team and looking for another way to experience America's most prestigious barbecue competition, consider judging at #WCBCC20. If you haven't judged with us before, you'll need to attend our annual Judges Seminar, which will be held on November 2. Regstration information will go online starting August 5. This event sells out every year, make sure you sign up early!

Great American River Run

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Already becoming one of the regions premier river runs, your favorite Memorial Day weekend half marathon and 5K will return in 2020! As we head into the run's fifth year, we're adding some new enhancements to make the 2020 run even better. Stay tuned for that announcement later this fall, but in the meantime, mark your calendar as registration will open on October 11th! 

Sponsor Profile - Microsoft

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Microsoft has been a proud sponsor of Memphis in May International Festival for six years. In addition to a booth presence at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, they also sponsor the Best Classroom Education Contest, an aspect of our award-winning Education Program.

“We have many customers in Memphis who look forward to having a place to come to and enjoy the atmosphere that the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest provides," said Jeff Gordon, Microsoft's Area Director. "It’s a great setting for us and gives us the opportunity to say “Thank You” and enjoy a casual conversation with our customers. This event is a Memphis tradition and Microsoft has a desire to be visible in important cultural events such as this, especially when we can include our valuable customers to join us."

Board Profile - Ken Moody

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A Memphis in May Board Member since 2016, Ken Moody has called The Bluff City home for the past 53 years. A graduate of Carver High School, Moody went on to play college basketball from 1985-87 when the school was still labeled Memphis State University, starting for the team during his junior year. He has served the City of Memphis since the mid-90's and enjoys his current role as Special Assistant to Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland because "of the great interactions I have with the citizens of Memphis." Moody loves the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest because of the camaraderie and passion each team displays on their quest for barbecue greatness. 

Volunteer Profile - Pat Whalen

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Pat Whalen is the 2019 Chair of the Festival Services Committee and former Chair of the PATH Committee and Barbecue Programming Committee. He and his wife Bridget have volunteered for Memphis in May for 15 years. In 2012 Pat was named the Lawrence Blackmon Award winner as Volunteer of the Year.

In his professional life Pat is a Senior Manager of Hub Operations at FedEx where he has worked for 34 years. Pat logged over 120 volunteer hours in 2019, performing key event roles. He has made countless sacrifices for Memphis in May and is one of our truly outstanding community volunteers.

Celebrate Shelby - Sunday, November 24

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We are excited to continue the bicentennial celebration on Sunday, November 24 with a free event at Shelby Farms commemorating the 200th anniversary of Shelby County. What began as a rural farming center with about 300 residents has grown to encompass 7 municipalities, serve over 900,000 residents, and make a lasting impact on every corner of the world. The best of local talent from Memphis, Germantown, Bartlett, Collierville, Arlington, Millington and Lakeland will be on hand for this county-wide birthday party (complete with cake!) and visitors can enjoy live entertainment, petting zoo, interactive history lessons, and a few exciting surprises to end the celebration with a “bang.” 

2020 Student Exchange Trip

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A delegation of high school students and a chaperone will be selected to serve as Exchange Students for Memphis in May International Festival, and will have the opportunity to travel to our honored country during March 2020.

The student group lives with host families, attends a local high school and experiences the sights, sounds and culture of the honored country. The program is offered at no charge to the students and lasts for 10-12 days, enough time to give the students a true experience of the country without interfering with their school year. If you know of a student that deserves the opportunity, alert them that applications will be available on our website beginning August 14.

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