Memphis Tour

AngelPig's LaPorcherie

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• Tom Lee Park •

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tom lee park

A strip of green along the banks of The Big Muddy, Tom Lee Park is a mecca for frisbee-throwers, kite-flyers, boat-watchers and picnickers. Throughout the warmer months-- and in Memphis there are plenty--the park also hosts music festivals and concerts.

Tom Lee was an African-American living in Memphis who became a hero when he saved 32 people from a sinking steamboat in 1925. Even though he could not swim, he rowed a small boat into the strong currents of the Mississippi River to rescure the victims. The park, which stretches for a mile and half along the banks of the river, is dedicated to this hero and contains a monument to him.

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Enhancement of these buildings gives
one a perspective on transformation.
Riverside Drive (clearly in view above)
is closed the entire month of May.
Memphis in May International Festival
takes it over...for the month
(this image) World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest
(average number of teams competing: 250)
(also, The Beale Street Music Festival
and Sunset Symphony)
Check out: for schedule of events

This event claims to be the largest pork barbecue-cooking contest on Earth. They call it the "Superbowl of Swine," and then perhaps over-egg the metaphors by continuing "The College of Pig Knowledge" and "The Grandaddy of Grills." It takes place on Tom Lee Park as part of the annual Memphis in May conglomeration of festivals. Vegetarians, you have been warned!

The competition offers more than US$60,000 in prize money, so the stakes (or should that be steaks?) are high. The park is the site for not only the competitive cook-a-thon, but also entertainments on the main stage. These include world-class music and the Ms Piggie contest, sporting grown men in snouts and tutus (?!).

However, woe betide anyone who thinks they don't take their competitions seriously down south. Applications need to be in by early February and there is a great deal of planning in dressing up the grills: expect anything from fire trucks, airplanes and piggy banks to pot bellied stoves. And then there are the 90,000 who annually gather to gawp as well as grill.... No wonder the contest is a favourite for state and national TV and radio.

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