Memphis’ biggest arts festival of the year, RiverArtsFest, happens this weekend, Saturday, October 22 (10 AM-6 PM) and Sunday, October 23 (10 AM-5 PM). This is definitely a festival to attend, whether you’re into art, good food, or great live music. Main will be closed off between Huling and Webster, and patrons will be free to stroll the street.
The main attraction will be a juried artists’ market, with 160 artists from around the country who have been invited to exhibit and sell their wares. Categories include ceramics, digital art, drawing, fiber & leather, glass, graphics and printmaking, jewelry, metalworks, mixed media, painting, photography, sculpture, and wood.
There will also be live music, with over 50 performing artists. Three stages will be set up along the festival route, and there will be wandering artists as well. South Main tenant the Memphis Music Foundation assisted this year with the recruitment of live music acts.
There will be food vendors as well. From what I remember last year, the food was well above average, with everything from Cajun to BBQ to Chinese and much more represented. Insider tip: If the guy selling the cinnamon-roasted pecans is back this year, they are absolutely a must eat. Second insider tip: Make a reservation to eat at Michael Patrick’s new place Rizzo’s Diner after the festival. Lobster pronto pups are back! (Remember those from EP Delta Kitchen?)
Of course, the shops of South Main will be open as well. Trendy clothing, handmade accessories, jewelry, and even more art.
I plan on being at the festival by noon both days, and staying until close. I’m putting my “festival rule” back in effect for this one: When there’s a festival going on, my plan is to be at the festival, not somewhere near the festival watching football. I did too much of that last year. Arkansas is playing a team that isn’t worth a damn (Ole Miss) this week, so I don’t feel the need to closely monitor the game. Besides, with the festival closing at 6 Saturday, 5 Sunday, there will be plenty of time for me to wander north and get in some bar time at the Saucer later in the day.
This is too good an event to miss. Come one day, or both!