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The Best of Memphis Art, Music, and Culture in One Place

Well known as the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll, Memphis’ unique brand of culture and variety of attractions have made it one of the top destinations in the South. Major attractions such as Graceland and Beale Street attract visitors from around the globe. In fact, more than 10 million people visited the city in 2016. From sampling mouth watering BBQ at Central BBQ to touring the Gibson Guitar Factory, Memphis is the perfect place for your next getaway.


The Cooper Young Festival has been a can't-miss event for tens of thousands of people for three decades, and this year’s event will take place September 16 in the heart of the Cooper Young Neighborhood. Visitors will encounter a family friendly celebration that highlights the unique art, people, and culture of Memphis. The Festival features more than 430 vendors from around the country, selling everything from paintings and sculptures, to clothing and re-purposed art. A great selection of local bands will perform on three stages, including Star and Micey, The Band Camino, and more. Families will love the Children's Area, full of games and activities for all ages, and those looking for a bite to eat will be in proximity to more than 50 restaurants and food vendors. Proceeds from the event benefit the infrastructure of the Cooper Young Neighborhood, including new walkways, trees, and lampposts. got the opportunity to interview Tamara Cook, Executive Director of the Event, to learn more about this great community celebration.


RAL: How long has the event been running?

TC: This will be the 30th year of the Cooper Young Festival!


RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?  

TC: Organizers expect around 135,000 attendees.


RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?  

TC: The event attracts all ages and all demographics.


RAL: What makes this event unique?  

TC: It's the largest single day event in Memphis. Everyone enjoys seeing their friends the day of the festival and meeting new people. We have a great selection of art and music on display throughout the biggest historic district in Memphis. Cooper Young Festival is the largest party of the summer!


RAL: What can patrons expect for activities?  

TC: People can stroll through the artist booths that line the streets and lots of the Cooper and Young area, listen to local musicians, and stop by the Children's Area to paint and play games with members of the Memphis College of Art.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

TC: Yes, the event will feature the “The Grizz”, the Memphis Grizzlies mascot,, Local 24 TV celebrities, Rock 103 celebrities, and more.


RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter?

TC: We have 26 local restaurants and bars with diverse offerings in the district. During the festival, we add another 25 concessionaires and food trucks to the mix that feature Pronto Pups, waffles on a stick, fried pies, Mempops (local organic popsicles), Wild Bill’s Sodas, snow cones, funnel cakes, and more.


RAL: What is the overall environment like?  

TC: It's a vibrant and fun atmosphere. It's like a homecoming or a family reunion type of festival.


RAL: Our travelers seek out unique and boutique accommodations, where can they find these in your area?

TC: The Captain Harris House has a couple of Airbnb units, and there are several others in the area. The Holiday Inn at the University of Memphis is less than a half mile away.


RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?  

TC: Yes, many of the businesses in proximity see a significant spike in sales during the event.


RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?

TC: This is the only local fundraiser where the proceeds go back to supporting the infrastructure such as lampposts, gingko trees, and the neighborhood square.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?  

TC: People should come because Cooper Young offers something for everyone. It's a go-to Memphis neighborhood where thousands of people go for eating, shopping, and entertainment.

For more information about the Cooper Young Festival, please visit the event website.