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Memphis Moments

Memphis Women's Summit

Society of Entrepreneurs

A Night to Remember

Down to Earth Festival

Big Orange Gala

Boll Weevils Party

Cocktails and Conservation

Josephine Circle

Dishes for Wishes

Overton Square Crawfish Festival

Kaleidoscope Food Festival

Brewfest

Hoedown for Hope

Black Tie and Tennis Shoes


Stories and Photos by Bill Bannister, Suzanne Thompson Cozza, Virginia Davis and Emily Adams Keplinger.

 
 

Memphis Women's Summit

Elevating Memphis

The Junior League of Memphis (JLM) hosted the second annual Memphis Women’s Summit at the University of Memphis. Valerie Calhoun, anchor of FOX13 Good Morning Memphis, gave the opening remarks. Susan Packard, co-founder of Scripps Networks Interactive and former Chief Operating Officer of HGTV was the Keynote Speaker. Under Packard’s leadership, HGTV became one of the fastest growing cable networks in television history. Breakout sessions and vendor networking filled most of the schedule of the one-day event. Topics ranged from getting more of what one wants out of life to ways women could best connect and make a difference in their community. Sally Pace, a former JLM president and Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications for FTN Financial, made a presentation to college juniors and seniors in the summit’s Leaders of Tomorrow program about how to best develop their potential. Jenny Taylor, current JLM president said, “The Junior League of Memphis (JLM) Memphis Women’s Summit was designed as a community-focused leadership conference that spanned themes of professional, personal and community leadership to invigorate and empower women to elevate themselves and Memphis.” 

 
 

Society of Entrepreneurs

Silver Anniversary Celebration

It was an electric evening at the Holiday Inn - University of Memphis as hundreds gathered for the Silver Anniversary Celebration of The Society of Entrepreneurs to recognize Memphis’ greatest entrepreneurs from the past 25 years. As a fitting tribute, artwork by Lisa Dick represented each past recipient of the Master Entrepreneur Award. “Founded in 1991 to foster the development of the entrepreneurial spirit, members of The Society of Entrepreneurs are community leaders and company executives, chosen by their peers, who help nurture the community’s entrepreneurial spirit,” explained Bob Wilson, president of the organization. Don Hutson was Master of Ceremonies for the evening. Ellen Rolfes presented the history of the organization to the crowd. Dr. Mary C. McDonald discussed the book There’s Something in the Water: Intimate Account of River City Pioneers and Innovators. The work was unveiled at the dinner and contains profiles written from interviews with all 117 members of the society. All in attendance agreed, Memphis is on the move thanks to the incredible group of folks honored at this year’s annual celebration.

     
 

A Night to Remember

Benefiting Alzheimer's Association

On summer solstice June 21, the longest day of the calendar year, teams of volunteers will join a global effort to raise funds and awareness for the care, support and research provided by Alzheimer’s Association. Supporters in the Memphis area gathered for “A Night to Remember Black and White Party” at Visible Music College downtown as a prelude to benefit the effort. Alzheimer’s Association Mid-South Chapter organized the event, which netted over  $8,000. Festivities included a silent auction, hors d’oeuvres by In a Pinch and dancing to the music of DJ Funn. Event sponsors were Elmcroft Bartlett, Guardian Pharmacy, Jones Eyecare, Quail Ridge Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, Shoemaker Financial, and Ron and Lisa Bobal. The Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline is 800-272-3900.

     
 

Down to Earth Festival

Embracing Environmental Sustainability

Shelby Farms Park sparkled like a green jewel as it showed itself off to thousands of visitors during the 10th annual Down to Earth Festival. The event sprawled across the grassy plateau that surrounds the park’s new First Tennessee Foundation Visitor Center. For many, the festival afforded a first opportunity to view and enjoy amenities included in Shelby Farms Park Conservancy’s ambitious Heart of the Park enhancement project, completed in 2016. The non-profit conservancy operates and maintains the 4,500-acre public park and 10.8-mile Shelby Farms Greenline urban trail. Down to Earth Festival at Shelby Farms Park embraces environmental sustainability. From simple beginnings, the event has mushroomed into the largest celebration of its kind in the region. Chipping in to present the 2017 version were ARS/Rescue Rooter; Brother Office; Conway Services Heating, Cooling & Plumbing; IKEA; Kroger; Whole Foods Market and YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South.

     
 

Big Orange Gala

Rocky Top Comes to Memphis

Hundreds of University of Tennessee supporters gathered at the Memphis Botanic Garden for the annual Big Orange Gala. Knoxville campus leaders Chancellor Beverly Davenport, Vice Chancellor and Athletic Director John Currie and Floyd Akins, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Development, were joined by UT alumni, friends and family for an evening of camaraderie in Memphis. This fun-filled event included dinner, a silent auction and entertainment by Almost Famous. UT has embarked on a journey to become a Top 25 public research university. Attendees of the gala were asked to “join the journey” by being a voice for the university, sharing their UT stories and showing their colors by wearing orange on designated days called “Big Orange Fridays.” Ryan Groves, Memphis UT Knoxville Alumni Chapter Board member, said, “Proceeds from the Big Orange Gala will be used to support Tennessee Pledge Scholarships for students from the Memphis area and West Tennessee. Currently more than 250 students from Shelby County receive the Tennessee Pledge Scholarship.”

 
     
 

Boll Weevils Party

Annual Green Bash

The riverfront was awash in a sea of green as the Boll Weevils held their annual party downtown. For guests, there was no mistaking that they were in the right place as not one, but two, bright green buses parked along the entrance to the Riverfront Bar & Grill. The buses are the official transportation used by the “Mischief Makers of Carnival.” Members of the Secret Order of Boll Weevils are known for their merriment, and this party was no exception. Local party band City Mix held court on the open air pavilion as party-goers made their way back and forth from the dance floor to the indoor party room. His Evil Eminence Todd Brown (head of the Boll Weevils) was joined on stage by Carnival President Jeff Cole to honor this year’s King and Queen of Carnival, Edward Dobbs and Tayloe Lowrance. Per the krewe’s tradition, there was a formal unmasking of one of the Boll Weevils, Van Raby. Members of other Carnival krewes joined in the fun as the event heralded the upcoming the Carnival Week.

     
 

Cocktails and Conservation

Supporting TennGreen

Cocktails and Conservation event at The Old Dominick Distillery. The fundraiser served as an opportunity to announce the organization’s new East Memphis office and their upcoming local projects. Hosted by the Canale Family, Henry and Snow Morgan, and Looney Ricks Kiss, the event also served as a public unveiling for the distillery. “Old Dominick Distillery is a 54,000 square-foot set of historic industrial buildings restored as a spirits distillery,” explained Chris Canale. “But it’s more than a production facility. We’ve designed it to be a destination where people can get together.” Guests were the first to share a sip of pure Memphis as employees of the distillery offered tastings of the signature drink called “Memphis Toddy.” A silent auction served as another highlight of the evening with items such as nature photography, active wear clothing, and gift certificates for unique conservation experiences not normally available to the public. Proceeds from this event will support the ongoing work of TennGreen as the organization continues to focus on conserving wildlife corridors and natural treasures. For more information about TennGreen, visit www.tenngreen.org or call (901) 820-4447. 

 

 

Josephine Circle

Supporting Their Passion Through Music and Fashion

As members of Josephine Circle and their guests stepped off the escalator at the Memphis Hilton to attend the organization’s annual fashion show luncheon, they were greeted by festive tunes performed by the Renee Koopman Latin Jazz Trio. This year the fundraiser’s theme was “At the Copacabana.” Table centerpieces carried out the tropical theme with lush arrangements of bromeliads and greenery by Holliday’s Flowers. Champion Ballroom Dancer Josie Howser and Ultimate Ballroom Instructors Anthony Parks and Iura Kora performed to the title song, “At the Copacabana.” Women’s, children’s and men’s fashions for the show were provided by the Shops of Saddle Creek. Rick Gruber, manager of Brooks Brothers, said, “This season’s fashions are showing tropical shades of green, aqua, peach and orange, even in our menswear. The focus is on comfort with fabrics of cotton and linen—and seersucker is always a popular choice for our Memphis climate.” “Proceeds from the event will support the organization’s loans and scholarships program for college students from the Mid-South,” explained Brenda West, president of Josephine Circle.

 

Dishes for Wishes

Benefiting Make-A-Wish Mid-South

Felicia Suzanne’s was packed with folks enjoying food, music and fun during the 12th annual Dishes for Wishes, benefiting Make-A-Wish Mid-South. Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Blue Monkey, DeJavu, Majestic Grille, McEwen’s on Monroe, Rendezvous, Restaurant Iris, Rizzo’s Diner, South of Beale and Sweet Grass offered up tasting portions of favorite dishes to lucky ticket holders of the sold-out event. Felicia Willett, chef and owner of Felicia Suzanne’s, hosted the event, and servers passed through the crowd with her smoked salmon deviled eggs topped with caviar. Oh My Ganache Bakery and Smallcakes stocked a cupcake tower. Steve Conley and Karen Perrin emceed the event, with entertainment provided by the Side Street Steppers. Armstrong Relocation Companies and nexAir matched funds that were raised in the Fund a Flight segment, which followed a live auction. 

     
 

Overton Square Crawfish Festival

Mudbug Mania

Hordes of unsuspecting Louisiana natives showed up at Overton Square in Midtown Memphis one sunny day, ending an annual pilgrimage first attempted by their ancestors 23 years ago. The pilgrims didn’t linger. A throng of eager well-wishers greeted the arrivals, promising that all would have a good time. And then they ate ‘em. Five thousand pounds of mudbugs met their fates in vats of spiced boiling water at the Overton Square Crawfish Festival. Steaming red heaps of the juicy critters slipped down craws as quickly as purveyor Cajun Crawdad’s dished them up. About 15,000 people attended the 2017 festival, sponsored by A.S. Barboro, Bayou Bar & Grill, Event EMS, Memphis Flyer and Waste Pro. Proceeds benefited Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

 

Kaleidoscope Food Festival

A Flavorful Experience

In Greek, the word “Kaleidoscope” means “observation of beautiful forms.” There were many beautiful forms of food and drink to behold and enjoy at the first ever Kaleidoscope Food Festival held at the Wiseacre Brewery in Binghampton. It was a free family friendly event where even the family dog was welcome. Delicious fare included Indra’s Dumplings, Ibti’s Soup, Aroma Kitchen by Flora and CC, and mouthwatering Gyros and Falafel from Raffe’s. All these scrumptious goodies were perfectly paired with a uniquely flavorful assortment of fine craft beers from Wiseacre. Guests were able to experience cultures and flavors from around the world, along with storytelling and performance.  This delightful day in the sun was hosted by Little Bird Innovation, and Binghampton Development Corporation.

 

Brewfest

A Celebration of Beer

For the first time in history, craft beer has surpassed a 10% share of the overall U.S. Beer industry. It was with this in mind that hundreds of local beer lovers gathered at AutoZone Park downtown for the Memphis International Beer Festival, Brewfest 2017. Guests wearing necklaces made of pretzels went from table to table sampling beers from all over the world. Ales, Lagers, IPAs, Stouts, and Pilsners were there for the tasting, along with Central BBQ, El Mero Taco, Wolf River Popcorn and 901 Mini Donuts. Artist and painter Nelson Perez Jr. was on hand with his fabulous 3D paintings, as well as fine cigars from Havana Mix Cigar Emporium. Proceeds from Brewfest 2017 went to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy.

 

Hoedown for Hope

A Western Style Gala

Hoedown for Hope, a fundraiser for Hope House, was held at Propceller, where guests enjoyed a down-home buffet, complete with chuck roast, turnip greens and cornbread, provided by Heart & Soul Catering. People crowded the dancefloor to participate in a line dancing lesson given by Benji Smith, owner of DanceSmiths. Volunteers handed out MemPops’ frozen treats and Phancy Photo Booth was on hand, so partygoers could take away a memento of the fun night. To top off the hoedown experience, there was even a mechanical bull and a beauty queen! Daring guests took turns riding the bull, and Callie Compton, Miss Memphis, mingled and posed for pictures with guests. Hope House helps HIV positive Memphians by providing rent assistance, case management, day care and other services. 

 

Black Tie and Tennis Shoes

Ptah's Costumed Fun

Carnival Memphis members are a competitive bunch, and “Black Tie and Tennis Shoes,” an annual shindig thrown by the Grand Krewe of Ptah, gives them an excuse to vie for titles. Krewe members competed for bragging rights for best decorated sneakers, and which group could put on the best skit. The seven-minute performances were zany, usually comedic skits with plenty of singing and dancing. For the third consecutive year, Luxor took top honors, this year with an elaborate skit based on a “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. Ennead won second place for its act “Fractured Fairy Tales.” RaMet snagged third place with a skit depicting Democrats and Republicans battling it out, brought to peace in the end by Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen,” singing “Let it Go.” Memphi won “Best in Show,” chosen by votes from the crowd, with an act featuring the song “It’s Raining Men.” David Ratton won the prize for the Men’s Best Decorated Tennis Shoes, Dee Stephens won the women’s category and Ennead took the group award.