Memphis Music & Heritage Festival the best ever

I spent most of today at the Center for Southern Folklore’s Memphis Music & Heritage Festival, and it was without a doubt the best one ever. Here are some pics: (click them to see them full size)

Puppeteer Jimmy Crosthwait with a sabre-toothed tiger.

Crosthwait with fellow Sunday bruncher/regular blog reader John D. Wait, that isn’t John D, he doesn’t have a bottle of Bud Light in his hand.

No festival is complete without Chicken Fries.

The Flying Fish had a booth there, selling fish baskets and shrimp baskets.

Sauces had a booth selling mojitos. Stay tuned for an announcement about Sauces, and keep Thursday night free on your calendar if you like good drinks.

There was also a palm/tarot reading booth.

One of the bands. I didn’t do a very good job getting band names so some of the band shots will be uncaptioned.

The hardest working man at the festival, master of ceremonies IQ.

An American Indian dance troupe gets ready to perform.

EP Delta Kitchen chef Michael Patrick having fun at his cooking demo.

A classic Downtown Memphis photo.

I took about 40 more, and there will be a photo album once the weekend is over and I’ve rounded up all the pictures. Also, I took some bum pictures today, and those will go online as well, in a separate post. This blog seems to get more hits when I post pics of bums.

Also, I would be remiss in my duties as a blogger if I did not mention that regular blog reader Suzy had a tube top on. Looks like she went commando again too.

It’s a two-day festival, so you still have a day left to get down there and experience one of the best fests of the year.

What is there to do Downtown that’s kid-friendly?

A couple of times over the past week, I’ve received the question, where is there to go Downtown that’s kid-friendly? After thinking about it, I gotta admit: I can’t come up with a whole lot of places. Not that I’m an expert or anything, since I don’t have kids. These are the ones I can think of:

– Jillian’s – obviously. The arcade, the bowling alley, the pool room. Probably the most kid-friendly place Downtown.

– The Fire Museum – kids can climb on the trucks, experience what it’s like to be in a simulated fire. It’s on Adams between Second and Main.

– Big Foot Lodge – They have a lot of menu items that would appeal to kids. For example, the Yeti, an 18-scoop ice cream sundae, S’mores you cook at your table, deep dish skillet cookies a la mode.

– Flying Fish – Kids can have fun looking at the Billy Bass Adoption Center and all the other fish-related decorations.

– Spaghetti Warehouse – I haven’t been there in a couple of years myself, so it’s hard for me to list definite reasons why this place is kid-friendly, but last time I went I seem to remember a lot of families having fun there. Kids love spaghetti.

… And those are about the only places I can think of. If there are others I’ve missed, let me know.

Heading out to the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival in a few minutes. For those of you who don’t feel like driving all the way Downtown, there’s also East BumbleFest going on at the Agricenter through September 9. And hopefully the Tigers will lay the smack down on Ole Miss this afternoon – game starts at 2:30.

Flying Saucer raises daily Fire Sale price to $2.75

For the past 10 years, every day the Flying Saucer has picked one draft beer and put that beer on sale for $2.50. That particular beer is known as the day’s Fire Sale. Well, yesterday we got a shock – for the first time in 10 years, the price has gone up, to $2.75.

Some of the regulars weren’t happy… a few were talking about boycotting the place and accusing the Saucer of “gouging” us. Hmmm… I’m not happy about having to spend more money either, but it’s hard for me to call a $2.75 beer “gouging” when there’s a hotel right around the corner that has the nerve to charge $5 for a 16-ounce bottle of Bud Light at its rooftop parties.

I went in and talked to one of the bartenders today, and she told me management has plans to give people more value for their extra quarter per beer by varying the Fire Sales a little more. Lately they’ve been running Killian’s Red, Lienenkugel Red, and Abita Amber, which are more or less all the same beer, a couple of times a week each. “They’re going to make more of an effort to run through all the draft beers, except the high-priced ones,” she told me. And they were off to a start – the Fire Sale today was Sierra Nevada Porter, and I can’t remember the last time that one was the featured beer. I’m not a big fan of dark beers but I tried one and it was surprisingly good.

The main problem I see with the increase is that this won’t necessarily hurt the customers’ pocketbooks, but the waitresses’. There are plenty of people who come in, order a Fire Sale, and leave three bucks, meaning the waitress got a 50-cent tip in the past, which is at least a 20% tip. Now they’ll still leave three bucks but the waitresses will only get a quarter, less than 10%.

It also makes it harder to figure out how many Fire Sales you can buy with the money in your wallet. Multiples of $2.50 were easy to figure out, but, quick – you have $8, how many Fire Sales can you buy at $2.75 each? People who hate math are at a disadvantage at the new price.

After a day to think it over, though, I just can’t bring myself around to the “how DARE they do this to us” stance that some of the other regulars have taken. Yeah, they buy those kegs at a discount price and their cost per pint of beer is far less than the $2.75 they charge, but they also have other costs than paying for the beer – rent, beer and liquor taxes, costs associated with training new staff, etc. They’ve treated me very well over the 2-year period since I’ve been an every-day regular there. I’m inclined to cut ’em a break.

There’s also some good news – the Monday Pint Nite price has NOT gone up. Almost all the drafts are still $2.50 on Mondays.

Taking a night off from going out, so I can catch up on the websites I’m working on. Made a lot of progress tonight, so I’ll be able to enjoy the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival tomorrow and Sunday with a clear conscience.