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Memphis, Tennessee

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Memphis in Tennessee.


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Memphis is a city in the western corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers.

Memphis has an estimated population of 646,889, making it the biggest city in the state of Tennessee, the third largest in the Southeastern United States, and the 19th largest in the United States.

Cultural events

One of the largest celebrations the city has is Memphis in May. The month-long series of events promotes Memphis' heritage and outreach of its people far beyond the city's borders. There are four main events, the Beale Street Music Festival, International Week, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Sunset Symphony. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is the largest pork barbecue cooking contest in the world.

Also held in May, rain or shine, is the Memphis Greek Festival at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. The festival usually lasts 2 days and hosts musical performances, local artisans, and children's activities. However, the primary attraction at the festival is authentic Greek food and wine tasting.

During June, Memphis is home to the Memphis Italian Festival at Marquette Park. For over 20 years, the festival has hosted musical acts, local artisans, and Italian cooking competitions. It also presents chef demonstrations, the Coors Light Competitive Bocce Tournament, the Galtelli Cup Recreational Bocce Tournament, a volleyball tournament, and pizza tossing demonstrations.

Carnival Memphis, formerly known as the Memphis Cotton Carnival, is an annual series of parties and festivities in the month of June that salutes various aspects of Memphis and its industries. An annual King and Queen of Carnival are secretly selected to reign over Carnival activities. The African-American community staged a parallel event known as the Cotton Makers Jubilee from 1935 to 1982, when it merged with Carnival Memphis.

An arts festival, the Cooper-Young Festival, is held annually in September in the Cooper-Young district of Midtown Memphis. The event draws artists from all over North America, and includes art sales, contests, and displays.

Memphis is also home to two film festivals, the Memphis International Film and Music Festival and the Indie Memphis Film Festival. The Memphis International Film and Music Festival is held in April and is in its 11th year, whereas the Indie Memphis Film Festival is in its 13th year and held in October. Both festivals feature a variety of films, including animations, documentaries, student films, and short films.

The arts

Memphis is the home of founders and establishers of various American music genres, including Blues, Gospel, Rock n' Roll, Buck, Crunk, and "sharecropper" country music (in contrast to the "rhinestone" country sound of Nashville). Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes and B. B. King all got their start in Memphis in the 1950s.

Several notable singers are from the Memphis area, including Ruth Welting and Kallen Esperian. Justin Timberlake also grew up in the Memphis area. The Metropolitan Opera began coming to Memphis in 1906, their first road show, but in the 1990s decided to only visit larger cities.

Well-known writers from Memphis include American Civil War historian Shelby Foote. Novelist John Grisham grew up in nearby DeSoto County, Mississippi and many of his books are set in Memphis.

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