Memphis in May
Memphis, Tennessee © Thomas R Machnitzki
May is the month with the most celebrations in Memphis, when the city celebrates with a clutch of festivals designed not only to highlight the indigenous charms of Tennessee but also as a cultural exchange exercise, honouring a different 'guest' country each year. Kicking off the merry month is the Beale Street Music Festival, billed as 'one outrageous party' taking place over three days, with four stages on 13 hectares (33 acres) hosting Cajun music acts alongside the mighty Mississippi.
This is followed up by the Desti-Nations International Festival featuring activities, displays and cultural exhibitions relating to the chosen guest country. The other three main events of Memphis in May are the World Championship Barbecue Contest, the Sunset Symphony concert on the riverbank and the Education Program.
The Barbecue Contest is held at the Tom Lee Park and teams are encouraged to decorate their stands while they grill meat that is judged by a panel of barbecue experts. Additional entertainment includes a Ms. Piggie Idol competition, a t-shirt competition and a best booth competition.
The Sunset Symphony is the oldest event in Memphis and includes all-day musical performances on the banks of the Mississippi, an air show, a performance by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, and a fireworks show. The Education Program aims to educate the state's students about the guest country for the year, through the means of specially developed curriculums, exchange programs, competitions and more.
Date: Various events annually in May