Happy 200th Birthday, Memphis!

Posted by Holly Whitfield | May 22nd 2019 1559 0

Happy Birthday, Memphis!

On May 22, 1819, this city was officially incorporated. We’ve come a long way from our early days as a trading town along the Mighty Mississippi. We’ve changed the world, from civil rights and rock ‘n’ roll to overnight shipping and childhood cancer. We’ve had many ups and downs, and many inspiring people who’ve made their mark.

Photo by @henryturleyco

It’s time to celebrate what Memphis has accomplished and why we love it. I can’t wait to see what the next 200 years will bring. If you want to throwdown for Memphis’ 200th this week, here’s what’s going on around town:

– Join the legions of Instagrammers, engaged people, people who like to climb on things to take a picture with the new but already ubiquitous 10-foot-by-60-foot “MEMPHIS” sign at Mud Island River Park, pictured above.

– Railgarten hosts a birthday party on Wednesday the 22nd from 4 p.m. – 11 p.m., with music from Black Cream and free Makeda’s Butter Cookies and Muddy’s at 9:01 p.m. First 200 local beers are free, courtesy of We Are Memphis.

– Old Dominick will release just 200 bottles of their two-year-old, aged-in-Memphis whiskey in honor of the bicentennial, and they’re making a special announcement about it at 3 p.m. on Wednesday the 22nd. Tune in on their Instagram or Facebook to see what’s happening with #200Toasts.

– Memphis Made has created a bicentennial Honey Wheat Ale called “3:30 On A Wednesday” that they’re tapping for the first time at Young Avenue Deli at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday the 22nd. If you’re into the bicentennial beer idea, Crosstown Brewing has Ocansey, a Memphis Pale Ale, available in cans or at their taproom. 

– Spend the bicentennial on the most famous street in town: Bike Night On Beale is every Wednesday, all summer, but this week is sure to be extra lit.

A New Century of Service completed multiple service projects around town today, but you still have tons of opportunities to volunteer for the rest of the month (or year!) Just check out the monthly guides to volunteering here.

A Vibe On The Island is the first of Mud Island River Park’s new DJ series, to go along with their new grove seating areas and tire swings. It’s on Friday, May 24th from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

– The Levitt Shell hosts Bluff City Jazz at the Shell on Saturday from 1 p.m. – 9 p.m., featuring classic and smooth jazz artists all day.

– Get moving on Saturday morning at Memphis In May’s Great American River Run. There’s a 5K and a half marathon at 7 a.m. with a route through picturesque downtown Memphis, followed by a mini fest with music, food, and beer.

– This weekend is the BIG bicentennial party – Celebrate Memphis – which also closes out Memphis In May 2019. Celebrate Memphis is on Saturday, May 25, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., it’s totally free, you can bring in coolers/picnics/chairs/blankets, and there will be a TON of festivities, including:

  • Live music from Lucero, Al Kapone, Love Light Orchestra, The Bo-Keys, Opera Memphis and tons more
  • Food trucks, local vendors, art activities
  • cornhole tourament and other games
  • Parachuters and airshow
  • World’s Largest Picnic Table (5:15 p.m.)
  • Mid-South’s Largest Fireworks Show at 9:30 p.m.

– November 24, 2019 is the bicentennial for Shelby County and Shelby Farms Park will host a closing ceremony that day featuring the suburbs.

For even more bicentennial ideas, check out the list of 200 things to do in Memphis this year, and the official MEM200.com website.


Author: Holly Whitfield

I write about what’s going on with Memphis music, food, arts, events, sports, people, and culture. Memphians love Elvis and barbeque with a passion that must be seen to be believed, but there is so much more to this place.

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