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A Hot Time at The Dixon

Story by Bill Bannister | Photos by Don Perry

Following the winding little path that leads through the woods to the red brick stage and then over the wooden bridge to the great lawn of the Dixon Gallery and Gardens, hundreds of art lovers were transported to the fantastical world of Art on Fire.

Guests were greeted by fire jugglers and flaming hula hoops as the Mighty Souls Brass Band marched by with a thumping beat and horns raised, playing New Orleans Jazz into the night sky. In the center of the lawn was a fiery cauldron, its flames mesmerizing those who stood around it. The whole expanse of the grounds were surrounded by gaily lit tables offering food and libations from some of Memphis’ finest restaurants.

Pete and Sam’s served up their mouth-watering signature Italian spinach with penne pasta. El Mero taco truck dished out local heirloom grits with smoked cheddar and roasted peppers, topped with chorizo. The Half Shell entered the delicious parade of culinary delights with their famous lobster and shrimp bruschetta. Soul Fish Café served scrumptious piping hot Cuban sliders. There were barbecue nachos from Central BBQ, chicken liver mousse with bread and butter pickles and pimento cheese from The Grove Grill, and Kyoto salad from Cheffie’s Café.  Jim Baker from Owen Brennan’s had a hard time keeping up with all the fans lined up to get a taste of their famous shrimp and grits. Thara Burana from Bangkok Alley wowed the crowd with Thai herb chicken, and Café Society was a hit with their bacon-wrapped shrimp.

Jack Daniel’s offered up samples of their Tennessee Honey and Tennessee Fire Whiskey, and there was plenty of delicious dessert on hand, too, with Frost Bake Shop serving up chocolate and vanilla, along with sweet pumpkin cupcakes. Seasons 52 sweetened the night with raspberry chocolate chip cannolis.

Art on Fire guests lined up to bid on fabulous, and even priceless, items in the silent auction, including a trip to Paris, complete with a five-night stay for two in the five star Le Royal Monceau. There were Disney Parkhopper tickets, a Dixon art party package, and the chance to party like a star at the Country Music Awards with a VIP CMA package. Guests bid on four club level seats to see the Grizzlies take on the Rockets, featuring dinner with Coach Fiz. And there, at the end of the table, was a limited edition Fender electric guitar signed by Tom Petty.

There was an art sale, and entertainment by Luna Devika, Fire Tribe Memphis, and Devil Train, as well as a live glass blowing demonstration by Teresa White of Studio 1688. Topo Chico quenched thirsts with their ice cold mineral water. Art on Fire was presented by Raymond James, with proceeds to benefit Dixon Gallery and Gardens.

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