Summer is upon us – it's hot, people are relaxed, and there's plenty going on. Here are 10 events and festivals that will make you want to put down your snowcone and step away from the pool:
The Orpheum's annual summer movie series allows the gilded theatre to take a break from its usual Broadway lineup and return to its original use as a movie house. This year, the series has kept fan favorites like "Casablanca", "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "Rocky Horror Picture Show" while partnering with Indie Memphis to add some newer classics like "Fargo", "Donnie Darko" and "Almost Famous".
The Levitt Shell's free summer concerts are one of my favorite annual events. They bring in all kinds of bands (mariachi! folk! soul!) and people flock to Overton Park to sit on the grass, picnic and listen. The shows are free, and you can bring coolers, drinks, food, blankets and lawn chairs.
Every Thursday night in the summer, hundreds of downtowners flock to the Peabody Hotel's massive rooftop for live music, food and drinks. The parties start at 6 p.m., and ladies get in free before 7 p.m. The $10 cover includes your first drink.
It's been 150 years since the (mostly uneventful) naval Battle of Memphis. During the anniversary weekend, Civil War historians, enthusiasts and lecturers will take over Mud Island for two days of performances, talks and a Confederate battlefield encampment packed with reenactors.
More than 500 people will dip their paddles into the Mississippi River for the June 16th race, which is one of the largest canoe and kayak races in the Southeast. Olympians, world champions and amateurs will compete for more than $15,000 in cash and prizes during the annual race.
The Botanic Garden's annual outdoor Live at the Garden concert series is only partially about the music. It's also about hanging out on blankets with elaborate picnics and seeing and being seen. This year's line-up includes Chicago, Seal, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Duran Duran Gates open at 6:30, the music starts at 8:30.
LuvMud, everyone's favorite mud-soaked 5k / obstacle course / costume contest is coming to Mud Island for a second race on June 23. Compete individually or in two or four person teams and run around downtown while raising money for Hope House.
If you find yourself downtown during lunch, take a walk through Court Square for some impromptu good times. A few times a week, the Downtown Memphis commission sponsors giant mural competitions, drop-in free ballet classes, karaoke, live music and other shennanigans from 11:45 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Think of the concerts at Shelby Farms as sort of a miniature Levitt Shell to the east. The park is hosting four free outdoor shows. There will be food for sale from local food trucks, and blankets are welcome. The shows are free, but parking is $5, so bring some cash.
The Women's Theatre Festival is bringing plays written by, directed by, and about women to Overton Square's burgeoning theatre district for three days. Performances will be held at Circuit Playhouse, Playhouse on th Square and TheatreWorks.
What summer events and festivals are you looking forward to this year?