by Ted Schredd
The World Biggest Bar-B-Q Festival
Well I just returned from Memphis Tennessee and I can honestly say I OP'd (Overporked). The BBQ festival is part of the Memphis in May Festival and features some the best Pork Preparation People on the planet. Awards are giving out for the best dry rib, wet rib, pork shoulder and other a few other categories. Over 200 tents are set up along the Mississippi River to see who is the Grand Master of Swine. While I was there I tasted some of the best pork products that have ever passed my palette.
What was weird about this festival is that no where in the promotional material does it mention that it is a private party. Each one of these tents is invite only. So if you are new to the area or you don't know anybody, "No Pork for You!"
We were shooting a TV Pilot so when you have a news crew it is very easy to get into these tents. But, I did talk to plenty of people that knew no one and had no TV Crew with them and were shunned by every tent. If you have the gift of schmooz you may be invited but not everybody has this skill. To be fair I also talked to some pork stations that were actively looking for tourists out of the crowd so they could be invited in. Now it is no fault of the individual groups that set up the tents. They pay for everything - food, drink and anything else. Some tents will give away up to 50,000 worth of food and beverage in 3 days.
A lot of people dress up, have funny themes and signs for the public to see. But the event is more of a customer appreciation day than a public event. Local businesses use the event as a way to thanks their customers with Pork and Booz.
At Discover Fun we like activities that are all inclusive not exclusive. This event fails miserably at the inclusive part. Yes there was a talent show that everybody could watch and there was a small public tasting set up, but regular people can not walk on the property and enjoy the whole event.
It reminded me of the class system in England where the haves have more and the peasants have to stand on the sides watch the people pork up. Hey just because I am a positive guy doesn't mean I have to feel happy about everything. Yes I had a good time but I talked to plenty of people that didn't.
As far as the event itself it is probably a 7 out of 10. But if you are just a regular member of the public I give this event a 1 out of 10. Check out the pictures on the photo page.
Other Memphis Highlights:
American Dream Safari - ride around Memphis in a 55 Cadillac with Tad Pierson. Great guy - amazing tour - definitely one of my highlights.
Beale Street - check out the blues music. All I can say is Wow!