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Memphis in May International Festival Invites you to its festivities

Memphis, Tennessee. Island Queen from Tom Lee Park. Hernando DeSoto Bridge in the background.
Memphis, Tennessee. Island Queen from Tom Lee Park. Hernando DeSoto Bridge in the background.
Photo by Thomas R Machnitzki Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Tomorrow, May 2, 2014 is the kick-off of the greatest festival in Memphis. The 2014 Memphis in May International Festival begins at Tom Lee Park, located on the Mississippi Riverfront, and continues there and at other venues near the park. The festival runs through May 24, so it gives everyone a chance to party and enjoy all the festivities.

This year's Memphis in May showcases and honors the Republic of Panama as its International pick for this celebration. Memphis in May has become synonymous with the city of Memphis itself, just as Mardi Gras and the Jazz Festival are to New Orleans and the Blues Festival is to Chicago.

The Beale Street Music Festival starts the party with three days of music on four different stages and runs from May 2-May 4. Next comes the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest on May 15-17. As the city's biggest celebration nears its end, you don't want to miss the music of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and fireworks display at the Sunset Symphony on May 24.

There are other activities to keep you busy from May 2 to May 24, so don't worry about running out of things to do. Single day tickets are available to each event, plus some events offer three-day passes. For complete ticket information and other event details, visit Memphis in May.

One special event, "Viva Panama" will be held at the Orpheum Theatre, where Panamanian Jazz great and Grammy Award winner Danilo Perez will perform songs from his new album, "Panama 500." This music will tell the story of Panama and 500 years of its history. Opening for Perez will be a Panamanian dance troupe performing traditional Panamanian dances of authentic folklore. You will be able to get a taste of Panama at intermission, when you can sample Panamanian cuisine created by Chef Charlie Collins.

Tickets for Viva Panama are available online at the Orpheum Theatre, by phone at the box office (901) 524-3000 or at Ticketmaster. Viva Panama will open Thursday, May 8, 2014 at 7:30 PM. The Orpheum Theatre is located at 203 South Main Street Memphis, Tenn. 38103.

This festival has all the potential to be one of the best Memphis in May celebrations of all time. More articles on the events will follow, so if you don't already subscribe to the Memphis International Travel articles in the Examiner, you can do so by clicking on the subscribe link located under this writer's photo at the top of the page. All these articles are free.

Until we meet again on these pages, we will let the "World turn onto our next destination."

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