Five Things to Do in Memphis This Weekend: June 3-5

Marquette Park, 4946 Alrose Avenue

Friday-Saturday, June 3-4, 11am-11pm

Is it red sauce or red gravy? Those of us with Italian in our blood will debate this issue to the end of time, and we’ll probably never come to an agreement on what to call that delicious tomato concoction that coats our spaghetti. But even in the throes of our diction-driven disputes, we can also argue about who makes it the best. All in good fun, of course, and sometimes in official environments like the Memphis Italian Festival’s Spaghetti Gravy Contest. (Yes, it seems that the festival is on the side of gravy in the sauce vs. gravy debate.)

In addition to the gravy contest and other food-related contests, the festival boasts games and activities, cooking demonstrations, musical performances by the likes of Bailey Bigger and Mark Edgar Stuart, a car raffle, and, you’ve guessed it, lots and lots of italian food. Admission costs $12 on Friday and $15 on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time online or at the gate.

Theater Memphis, 630 Perkins Ext.

Opening performance Friday, June 3, 7:30 pm

The human brain is capable of many things, but for some reason, it finds trouble grasping that not everything exists so cleanly in our either/or scenarios. But we can learn and stretch out those synapses, and if that’s an exercise that sounds appealing to you, you’ll want to catch ragtimewhich is all about exploring contradictions, especially the big-picture ones in our country.

The musical, set in turn-of-the-twentieth-century New York City, weaves three American tales together — that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician. Theater Memphis puts it best when they say, “United by their courage, compassion, and belief in the promise of the future, together they confront timeless contradictions of wealth and poverty, freedom and prejudice, hope and despair … and what it means to live in America.”

Tickets ($35) can be purchased online. Shows run Thursdays-Saturday at 7:30 pm with Sunday matinees at 2 pm through June 26th.

Memphis Botanic Garden, 750 Cherry

Friday, June 3, 6pm-8pm

Over at Memphis Botanic Garden, they’ve been painting the roses red. Not pink or green or aquamarine. They’ve settled on red, just as the Queen of Hearts would’ve chosen. As for the wine, though, the garden didn’t choose red or white. They went a bit rogue and compromised on rosé, but worry not, dear Queen of Hearts, croquet will be played. After all, this is Rosé and Croquet, not Rosé or croquette.

At this Alice in Wonderland-themed event, the Queen’s royal subjects can enjoy rosé, bubbly frozé, or rose-vodka cocktails, while playing croquet and wandering through the garden and its various topiary sculptures. Tickets for the event are $35 for members and $45 non-members. Register online.

Robert R. Church Park

Saturday, June 4, 10am-5pm

June means it’s time for Pride, and with that comes the single largest gathering for the LGBTQ+ community and allies in the Mid-South. So are you going to be a part of that number or not? The way I see it, the choice is obvious — with live entertainment on two stages, more than 150 vendors, a food truck park, a car show, kids area, adult area, VIP lounge, free and discreet HIV screenings, and more, you won’t want to miss out. Admission is $1.

Plus, Pride wouldn’t be complete without its parade, which steps off at 4th and Beale and makes its way through the historic Beale Street Entertainment District. The procession includes over 2,500 participants of all ages and backgrounds.

Museum of Science & History, 3050 Central Avenue

Opens Saturday, June 4, 10:30 am-5 pm

Choices can be hard. You have to weigh the pros and the cons, live with regret if you make the wrong choice, blah blah blah. But at MoSH, the only choice you’ll be making is which of its two new exhibitions opening this weekend you’re gonna see first, and that’s the kind of choice where you get to have your cake and eat it too.

The two exhibitions in question: “Memphis Proud” and “Rise Up.” The former, though a collection of local artifacts, photographs, and stories, examines the heart of the LGBTQ+ community in the Mid-South — its successes and challenges as it responded to national issues, such as the struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and the AIDS crisis . Meanwhile, “Rise Up” takes a broader approach and looks at important milestones of gay rights history and pop culture’s role in influencing attitudes about the LGBTQ+ community through film, television, and sports. Both exhibitions will be on display through September 26th.

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