MEMPHIS - The ongoing pandemic has once again affected one of the Mid-South's largest cultural events: Memphis in May.
Memphis In May's international Salute to Ghana, slated for May 2021 has been postponed to May 2022. Each year the honored country salute is designed to bring people and cultures from around the world together in Memphis for a mutually enriching and educational experience.
Mounting such an event in May 2021 would present numerous difficulties, as international travel has been severely reduced, visa processing halted since March, and a host of other COVID-19 concerns, according to a Memphis In May news release.
“It is our desire to present a salute that embodies and fully captures the phenomenal culture and historical significance of Ghana," said Charles Ewing, Memphis in May International Festival Board Chair. "It is still our desire to share the essence of Ghana with Memphians. Unfortunately, the global pandemic has forced us to postpone the celebration, but we are looking forward to a fantastic salute in 2022."
Also, the Beale Street Music Festival has been canceled this year. According to Memphis In May officials, the move is due to the nature of the event, gathering thousands of fans in front of stages and falling earlier in the calendar. Large scale music festivals and concerts remain deeply affected by the pandemic across the globe. The music festival is expected to return in May 2022.
The festival's World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest will proceed as planned May 12-15 with strict COVID19 protocols in place. The World Championship will be somewhat different and smaller with capacity restrictions that may be in place at that time. Team applications are now open.
Great American River Run is set for Memorial Day Weekend, May 29 with COVID-19 protocols in place. Adjustment for the run will include a rolling start to space runner with staggard start times. Runner registration is now open.
“We are disappointed with the postponement of the Beale Street Music Festival to 2022, but we feel we cannot safely replicate the experience that our fans know and love with the potential COVID 19 restrictions.” said James L. Holt, President & CEO of Memphis in May International Festival, “However, because of the nature of our other two Tom Lee Park events, we are confident that we can safely present the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest and the Great American River Run with adjustments for COVID.”
More information about Memphis In May can be found on its website, memphisinmay.org.