While everyone might be social distancing, New Memphis still has a way to safely bring thousands of Memphians together next week.
Normally, 901 Day (September 1st) is a celebration of all things Memphis. Bluff City’s very own holiday has seen thousands of people flock annually to AutoZone Park for Exposure, New Memphis’ festival that aims to spotlight nonprofits, art and culture, advocacy, and social connectivity. While such an event wouldn’t be possible this year due to COVID-19, New Memphis made a full transition to turn Exposure into a fully interactive digital experience.
New Memphis has hosted Exposure alongside Independent Bank for the past six years, and the festival was originally designed as a way for newcomers to find something to engage with, according to New Memphis’ community engagement manager Nora Murray. “If I moved from another city and I used to be part of, say, a book club or a running club, or maybe used to volunteer,” she says, “it’s a way that we can have all these separate organizations under one roof.”
While cancellation was briefly discussed, the organization knew it was even more important to hold the 2020 iteration. “We know this is a year where many of our nonprofit friends are seeing decreased support,” says Murray. “On top of that, we know that Memphians may be feeling a little bit disconnected at this time when things aren’t happening. So this provides a way to marry those things and make sure that everyone feels connected.”
Exposure will use a digital platform called Hopin that differs from conventional Zoom-style webinars. Everyone who registers will have total control over what they explore while attending the virtual event. Each participating organization will have their own virtual booths that host videos, histories, and other information. There are also booth-specific chatrooms if someone wants to learn more about an organization. For anyone who can’t decide on which booths to visit, a survey on New Memphis’ website can match up attendees with organizations that seem like a good fit.
In addition to booths, New Memphis has brought in several ask-me-anything panels. “We want to cover everything,” says Murray, “whether it’s where to eat, what to do on your weekend, how to build a COVID-fund plan for your family. Anything you want to know, we’ll have Memphis experts there to talk about it and guide you on your way.”
Plus, anyone who registers before September 1st will receive a virtual swag bag. Organization and local businesses have donated various perks, which could range from anything between free dance classes to free Mempops. Crosstown, meanwhile, set up a scavenger hunt that puts a firm focus on fully exploring the city.
While participation isn’t as high this year, Murray says most organizations were eager to sign up again. “We’ve really retained the essence of Exposure,” she explains. “It’s still a place where new or long-term Memphians can find any opportunity they’re looking for.”
901 Day festivities start at 9:01 am on Tuesday, September 1st, while Exposure runs from 4-7 pm.