Southern Hot Wing Festival’s new location: Good idea, but needs improvement

About 2 yesterday afternoon, I walked down to Jefferson Davis Park for the Southern Hot Wing Festival. I was pleased to find that the festival was not only in the park, but that they’d closed off Riverside from Monroe to Jefferson, and that’s where the team booths were. The park itself held entertainment and vendor booths. I like the new location. Festivals by the river – Memphis’ biggest natural asset – are always nice. There was plenty of room to walk around, and the booths weren’t blocking anyone’s home or business, as was the case with the previous South Main location. I had fun at the team booths I hung out in and enjoyed the wings. I especially want to thank those involved with The Chris Vernon Show booth, where I spent much of my time.

I took a few pics and will post them later. However, I want to keep this post short and draw attention to a couple of problems I observed with the festival:

1) Not enough trash cans – It’s a hot wing festival. Hot wings by their very nature are messy. There should be a trash can every 100 feet for a festival like this. There weren’t. I didn’t see any on Riverside and had to walk my empty plates all the way to the park to throw them away. I observed some people littering because trash cans weren’t conveniently placed.

2) Not enough bathrooms – As far as I could tell, there was only one row of eight or nine porta-potties, out of the way at the far north end of Jefferson Davis Park. Not enough and too hard to find. There were single porta-potties here and there on Riverside, which was just weird. There should have been another row of 8-9 porta-potties at the midpoint, Court Avenue, and at the southernmost point, Monroe Avenue. I ended up walking home to use the restroom, since I live only 2 blocks away, but not everyone has that convenience.

This competition started as a small contest in a parking lot, and grew to its current 60-team size. My advice for the organizers would be to hire a consultant who has done successful festivals of this size, to fix the problems with trash cans, bathrooms, and anything else that needs improvement.

Overall though, great idea to move it to Riverside, and a fun Saturday afternoon. I look forward to coming back next year.