MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Preparations are underway for a big weekend in Midtown Memphis.
The Cooper Young Festival, which is expected to bring at least 130,000 people to Midtown, is Saturday, but it all starts Friday night with the Cooper-Young four-miler. The race starts at 7.
The four-mile race is put on by the Cooper-Young Community Association, and organizers said they anticipate at least 1.600 people.
This is the 31st year for the festival and the 27th year for the race.
Nearby brewery Memphis Made has crafted a beer aptly named Mile 5 just for this race and weekend. This is the first year they’re canning it.
This is a weekend that many Midtowners look forward to all year long.
“Cooper-Young is a unique neighborhood in Memphis. I think that has a lot to do with it, and it gets a reputation for having a lot of unique people in Memphis,” race director Chris McHaney said.
The Cooper-Young Festival has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings three decades ago as a small neighborhood celebration.
With the number of people expected to attend the festival, Memphis police are visible.
“They are going to have a presence here so that everybody feels safe while they’re here. They’ve got a headquarters real close,” Church Parr, with the festival, said. “We ask folks when the come in if anything goes down, if anyone passes out, don’t call 911. There will be police all over the place. Let the policeman know what’s going on, we will get an EMT because we can’t get ambulances through a crowd like that.”
Police staged Sky Cop cameras in multiple locations, as well as cruisers.
The festival features hundreds of arts and crafts vendors as well as live music acts, but don’t let the September date fool you, the story always seems to be the heat and the crowds.
“I tell everybody to drink as much water as you can,” Parr said.
Memphis Made brewery is expecting a big day Saturday.
“It’s just a fun day, it’s a hard day, it’s a long day, but it’s a good time. We are going to be there at 6 in the morning until midnight, but it’s going to be 18 hours of fun,” Drew Barton, owner of Memphis Made, said.
The festival even draws out of town guests.
Nicole Sullivan and her husband used to live in Memphis but now live in Pittsburgh. They come back this weekend each year.
“We love the festival, we have so much fun. This is when we visit friends too,” Sullivan said.
“The heart and soul of the Cooper-Young community, we all kind of work together to make it happen,” Parr said.
The Cooper-Young Festival is one day only--Saturday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Admission is free.
No cars will be able to be in the perimeter of the festival area which is Walker, Central, McLean, and Parkway, so if you drive yourself and park, or even if you do take a ride share like Uber or Lyft, you will still have to walk.
There will also be shuttles at Christian Brothers University going back and forth to the festival.