Sat update: Possible Wine Race date change, parade today, new poker night, cooking class, dumpster news, design and transit culture

I do not have official word on this yet, so take this for what it is… but last night, I heard from a number of people, including people who will be on teams, that Beale Street Wine Race has been moved to Sunday, April 13. Normally the wine race is the last Sunday in April. However, this year Easter falls on the third Sunday in April, the usual date of Rajun Cajun Crawfish Fest on the river. So Crawfish Fest got moved to the fourth Sunday. Having wine race and the crawfish festival on the same date and time would have been a complete shitshow, so from what I’ve been told the Beale Street folks moved the wine race to the 13th.

For those not familiar with the wine race, it’s a competition among Memphis-area restaurant and bar teams. There are four events: a parade, a Queen of the Vine beauty contest, a grape stomp, and a 4-person relay run while carrying wine bottles and glasses on a tray. Moving the date back to the 13th is a risk because of Queen of the Vine. A mid-April cold snap could drop high temperatures to the 50s, not conducive for the skimpy costumes worn during the beauty contest. You know, I said it would be a shitshow if the crawfish fest was held the same day; really, Queen of the Vine is a shitshow all by itself. The contestants aren’t supposed to expose their breasts and vaginas to the judges and the crowd, but, well, sometimes accidents happen, you know. If you have never seen this contest, you need to, and get to Handy Park early to get a good seat.

Here’s a bit of advice from former Queen of the Vine winner Amanda “Panda” Parks: “Keep it classy. A lot of the girls think they have to let everything hang out in order to win, but the judges appreciate class. The skimpiest costume is almost never the one that wins.” I always bring my camera and take photos for the blog. I have to be careful to go through before I post and take out the NSFW photos, since a lot of people read my blog at work.

Speaking of Beale Street, don’t forget that the annual St. Patrick’s parade happens at 2 PM today. Lots of beads and candy will be thrown from the floats. The “raising of the goat” should happen outside Silky’s today too. There will be much green beer sold on Beale today. It isn’t green, but if you aren’t driving I recommend going to Wet Willie’s and having a Call-a-Cab. Even if daiquiris aren’t your normal thing, trust me, you will like this one.

PRO TIP: Don’t wear beads you already own to the parade. People on the floats are more likely to throw you beads if you don’t already have a lot on.

PRO TIP 2: Nothing says “luck of the Irish” like a green tube top.

Last night, after stops at the Flying Saucer and Blind Bear, I decided to pay a visit to Cafe Keough after bartender Hanin posted, “Come have cocktails with me!” Now, I won’t order Fireball from Hanin – you have to earn the right to serve me Fireball, and Hanin and a couple of other people who work down the street haven’t yet – but I will most definitely order the 7 oz. High Life ponies the cafe carries. While there, I got an interesting piece of news. The cafe has plans to start a poker night, on Thursdays, time yet to be determined, beginning Thursday, March 27. They have two large tables in the back that would be ideal for poker. Muruako who runs the Monday night games at the Silly Goose will serve as poker host and tournament director. Should be a fun night, and the space is large enough that the poker players in the back won’t disturb people who come in for the European-style cafe ambience and great food and coffee.

The Church Health Center is holding a six-week cooking class for Memphians who want a healthier lifestyle. Some of Memphis’ best chefs will give presentations, including Downtown’s Chef Gary Williams of DeJAVU. (I’m still unclear on the capitalization) Click the link for specific class dates and times. Fees range from $25 to $40 per class and ingredients and items needed to prepare the food are included in the cost.

From the Flyer: Downtown’s dumpsters are to be replaced with trash compactors.

From The Atlantic Cities: How design can help build transit culture. This should be required reading for whomever is named new president of MATA.

As usual, I will lead off at Panda’s bar at Bardog at 11 for some PBRs and maybe a Fireball. After that I’ll head to the St. Patrick’s parade. It should be a fun St. Patrick’s weekend in Downtown Memphis!