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SB NOTE: These suggestions are all made with social distancing and safety precautions in mind, and each event is subject to change depending on COVID in each location. Please look at websites and social media for updates, and check the most up-to-date CDC guidelines for the latest safety recommendations.


Welcome to May, Memphis! This month is packed with unforgettable local festivals, performances, races, shopping and so much more. We can’t wait to spend our days basking in the sunshine and celebrating with the whole family. Here are our top picks for events and happenings in Memphis this month.

Great American River Run, a Memphis event in May

From races to festivals, here’s a roundup of can’t-miss Memphis events happening in May. Image: Memphis in May

14 Memphis Events & Happenings: May 2021

May 1, 2021: May Day Celebration

On Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., enjoy live entertainment, an array of artists, food trucks and more on the renovated grounds of Theatre Memphis. There’s no better way to celebrate the theater’s 100th birthday than with live music and the spring sunshine!

May 1, 2021: 6th Annual Jockeys & Juleps Derby Party

Dust off those sundresses and wide-brimmed hats! Southern Reins’ 6th Annual Jockeys & Juleps Derby Party is scheduled to take place virtually on Saturday, May 1. While Watch Party Packages and virtual event tickets are sold out, you can still purchase tickets for the bourbon pull for $25. All proceeds from the event benefit Southern Reins.

RELATED: Where to Get Crawfish in Memphis

May 1, 2021: Lightfoot Farm Market

Lightfoot Farm Market is full of produce, jams and jellies, fried pies, dog treats, canned goods, home decor and more. The fun begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, at Lightfoot Farm in Millington, TN. Food trucks offering gourmet coffee, smoked barbecue, salads and wraps are also on-site for breakfast and lunch.

May 1 & 2, 2021: May Market Hosted by Memphis Arts Collective

On Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 2, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., stock up on gifts, jewelry, paint, textiles, soaps and more. (Just in time for Mother’s Day, too!) Hosted by Memphis Arts Collective, head to 3484 Poplar Avenue (on the corner of South Highland Street) to support local makers.

May 6, 13 & 27, 2021: Thursdays on the Plaza

Theatre Memphis hosts a new way to experience music every Thursday this month. From blues to trivia, you can enjoy it all with wine and craft beer. Trivia nights are free to attend, and there is a $5 cover charge for nights with musicians. May’s performers include Nick Black (Thursday, May 13) and Alejandro Paredes (Thursday, May 27). All tickets are sold at the door on the night of the event, and entertainment begins at 6:45 p.m. Beer, wine and snacks are also available for purchase.

May 12 – 15, 2021: World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

Head to Tom Lee Park for America’s most prestigious barbecue competition. For over 40 years, hundreds of teams from around the world have competed for thousands of dollars in prizes and bragging rights. See the elaborately decorated areas and some crazy-creative team names. Tickets start at $12 and must be purchased in advance.

May 14, 2021: Locals Live Concert at Memphis Botanic Garden

Local artists are scheduled to return to Memphis Botanic Garden’s Radians Amphitheater this month. On Friday, May 14, Southern Avenue takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. Bring your own chair or blanket and get ready to enjoy live music. Food and beverages are also available for purchase, and tickets are $20.35. radians-amphitheater

RELATED: 4 Ways Live Music is Returning to Memphis in 2021

May 15, 2021: Vintage901

Head to the Levitt Shell on Saturday, May 15, for a day full of fun, wine and sunshine at Vintage901. Advance general admission tickets start at $75, and VIP and group packages that include special seating, food and more are also available for purchase. Cheers!

May 15, 2021: Strawberry Festival

The Strawberry Festival is an annual celebration of spring and all things strawberries. Taking place in downtown Wartrace, TN, the event includes arts and crafts, baked goods, decor and boutique items, knives, pottery, handmade items and more. If you’re feeling extra festive, wear a strawberry-themed costume to join the parade, or participate in the strawberry bake-off. The festival is free to attend, and the fun begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 15.

May 15 & 16, 2021: 6th Annual Cooper-Young Garden Walk

The Cooper-Young Garden Walk on Saturday, May 15, and Sunday, May 16, is a self-guided tour of over 80 urban gardens and green spaces along the historic Cooper-Young neighborhood. Starting at 9 a.m. on both days, shop garden vendors as you enjoy local music, educational booths and more. Advance tickets are $16 for groups (six people or more) and $20 for individuals.

May 22, 2021: The Peach Truck Tour

The Peach Truck is making a pitstop at Colonial Hardware on Saturday, May 22. The famous peaches and pecans are pre-order only, so be sure to order them soon. The deadline to order Monday, May 17,  at 11:59 p.m.

May 22, 2021: River Series at Harbor Town Amphitheater

River Series at Harbor Town Amphitheater is a fundraiser for the Maria Montessori School and features live performances from Amy LaVere and Will Sexton. Doors open at 5 p.m. and music begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50 and include a Wiseacre beer, a Miss Cordelia’s gift bag and more.

May 23, 2021 – June 6, 2021: The Navy Ten Nautical Miler

The Navy Ten Nautical Miler goes virtual starting Sunday, May 23. Entry fees for the virtual race are $15 for children (ages 4-12), $40 for military active duty, and $45 for adults (12 and older). There’s plenty of time to record your results and run for a great cause. Plus, if you register early, you receive a limited edition finishers medal.

May 29, 2021: Great American River Run

Lace up your sneakers and finish off the month with a running event ideal for all ages and skill levels. The Great American River Run invites runners from all over the United States to weave through the trees of Memphis while enjoying the history and sights of the Bluff City. Runners can partake in a half-marathon, 5K or 10K race. Advance registration begins at $40.

Have a wonderful month, Memphis!


To see more great Memphis events, click HERE!

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