It’s eerie how it never seems to rain much — in recent years — at Memphis in May International Festival’s Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.
That’s because MIM began employing a vegetables on a stick (not shish kabob) method of keeping rain at bay.
Memphis in May president Jim Holt told me a while back that onions, chili peppers, and garlic are placed on sticks and placed along the perimeter of Tom Lee Park before each event. And that’s what does it.
A former director of the major outdoor festival in Singapore learned this rain prevention process from a shaman in a rainforest and used it at many of his festivals. It worked most of the time. He shared the process with Al Lyons, who was Memphis in May festival chairman in 2009. Lyons first used the vegetable sticks at an event when he was involved with Memphis in May.
All the vegetables have to be the right size and they have to be impaled on a wooden stick, which is placed several inches above the ground.
Well, guess what? I had to use the “adult raincoat” I bought at Dollar General for a while May 17th because it rained. It didn’t rain much, though.
Do you know why it rained? The vegetable sticks weren’t used this year.
“We do it every year,” says Holt. “We did not do it this year. Al was out of town. His sister-in-law passed away recently. This is the first year in about 10 years that he hasn’t done it. I blamed him for the rainfall that occurred the Saturday of the Beale Street Music Festival.”
The Lyons were out of the country on a trip to Africa. When they got back, they had the death in the family.
Holt says he told Lyons they need to “talk about his international travel.”
He told Lyons, “You need to be here for future Memphis in May festivals.”