Beale Street Wine Race – today at Handy Park

Shitshow. There is no other word to describe it.

The Beale Street Wine Race happens today on Beale Street and in Handy Park (corner of Beale and B.B. King). It is the most glorious hot mess you will find in Memphis outside of BBQ Fest. Bars and restaurants enter teams to compete in four events.

Wine Race begins with an opening parade, as teams march down Beale Street in floats and into Handy Park. Best performance wins.

Next up, beginning about 1:20 in the afternoon, is the must-see event: Queen of the Vine. This is a beauty pageant/talent contest of sorts with the creepiest emcee in the city. Contestants are told to keep it classy but sometimes a nipple or something else accidentally slips out.

Following that is a grape stomp. Contestants get a tub of grapes and whoever can stomp the most juice in a set time limit is the winner. For those partial to the Blind Bear, B-RAD will be your grape stomp contestant this year.

Last up is the wine relay, with teams of four competing. The first participant opens a bottle of wine, pours a glass, and then puts the bottle, glass and bar tool on a tray and runs to the other end of Beale Street. Then the second teammate takes the bar tool, opens another bottle of wine, pours a glass, puts everything on the tray… and so on. As you can imagine there is quite a bit of spilled wine. However, some teams (Huey’s comes to mind) practice and do really well.

This is the best free entertainment a Downtowner can ask for, so don’t be afraid of the rain – come on out. If and only if you’re not driving, stop by Wet Willie’s for a Call-a-Cab, probably the most alcoholic drink on Beale. If you can’t handle that, get you a Big Ass Beer.

In other news, I recruited a new Moody Ques member while drinking out of another BBQ team’s koozie yesterday at a massive three-and-a-half-hour session at Earnestine & Hazel’s. Every year I marvel at the way our BBQ team pulls it all together in the final weeks and enters BBQ Fest week strong as an ox. That’ll do it for now. Time to put on my Team Bear shirt and get things started.