Courtesy Stax Museum
In an unfamiliar city, it helps to locate a local. In Memphis, Destination King, a destination management company, has become known for staging events that are genuine Memphis. Sarah Fiser, the company’s director of sales, shares some of Destination King’s ideas for themed events.
- Memphis in May, the city’s much-heralded homage to barbecue, comes only once a year, but Destination King’s re-creations can give convention attendees a taste year-round. Under red-and-white-striped tents at Mud Island Park on the Mississippi River, three to five of Memphis’ world-champion barbecue teams cook their specialties: pork ribs, beef, chicken and other meats. Guests wander from booth to booth, tasting samples and talking to the chefs about their barbecuing techniques. Buffet tables loaded with side dishes and desserts are nearby. Bocce and other lawn games, a little beer and some music complete the Memphis mood For smaller groups, the Memphis in May party can move to a small park at the base of Beale Street.
- A scavenger hunt on Beale Street delves deeper into the city’s iconic entertainment district, as teams sample a finger shot at Wet Willie’s, have their photo snapped with the resident goat at Silky O’Sullivan’s and shop for the kitschiest judge’s bribe they can buy for $5 at one of Beale’s gift shops. For larger groups, Destination King can buy out an entire bar complete with a house band. Two favorites are Blues City Café, for its ribs and live music, and Alfred’s on Beale, home base for one of Destination King’s favorite bands and a patio that overlooks Beale Street.
- A VIP tour of the National Civil Rights Museum makes for a moving, emotional evening. Because of its connections in the area, Destination King can arrange for members of the museum’s board to speak to smaller groups. Also among the possible speakers is Rev. Samuel “Billy” Kyles, who was with Martin Luther King Jr. at the Lorraine Motel where King was assassinated, now the site of the museum.