People passing by the Orion Federal Credit Union headquarters (the old Wonder Bread factory on Monroe) Sept. 13th probably were bowled over to see Mike Conley enter the building.
Conley, the former Memphis Grizzlies guard, was in Memphis to host his 11th annual Bowl-N-Bash to benefit the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center.
The pre-bash reception was held at Orion, which was the event’s presenting sponsor. The affable Conley, dressed in a black-and-silver shirt and skinny black jeans, chatted with guests.
He wore a T-shirt and black-and-silver shorts the next day at Bowl-N-Bash at Billy Hardwick’s All-Star Lanes.
“Saturday’s event was really special,” says Sarah Farley, Methodist Healthcare Corporate communications specialist. “Mike and his family were all there. And we had over 300 people in attendance. We raised over $90,000 to benefit the Methodist Healthcare Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center.”
Conley was inspired by the health challenges of two of his cousins living with sickle cell disease to partner with Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in 2011 to create a medical environment to help people with the disease. The Sickle Cell Center at Methodist University Hospital opened in 2012.
Blame it on the heat.
This year’s Cooper-Young Festival, which was held Sept. 14th, was down by 15,000 to 20,000 people, says Tamara Cook, executive director of the Cooper-Young Business Association. “It was just fantastically hot,” she says. “That’s what got everybody.”
The artists' booths did great, but, she says, “We got hit by the heat. You didn’t see a lot of people standing in the sun in front of the main stage. People were standing in the shade.”
About 115,000 attended this year’s event. They had three stages, 17 bands, and more than 425 booths.
But the temperature reached 96 degrees around 4 or 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. And it might have felt hotter.
Says Cook: “We’re not used to seeing concrete, you know? When we look across the
crowd we see heads and bodies. This time we saw concrete, which is unusual for us.”
Southern Heritage founder Fred Jones and Mayor Jim Strickland spoke at the Southern Heritage Classic's Classic Gala, held Sept. 11th at the Soundstage at Graceland.
Strickland presented the gala, which celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Southern Heritage Classic.
Alumni from Jackson State University and Tennessee State University attended. The teams played in the Classic, which was held Sept. 14th at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Trio Plus performed at the gala. Stephanie Scurlock was emcee.
“It was a spectacular opening event for the 30th anniversary,” Jones says. “The location, the food, the music. I’m glad we were able to take the event to the Graceland Soundstage. Graceland is a big part of Memphis and we wanted to showcase Memphis as we celebrate the 30th anniversary.”