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What is Memphis in May International Festival, Inc.[SM]?

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Memphis in May International Festival is a month-long event that brings the world to Memphis and Memphis to the world! The largest annual event in the Mid-South region of the United States, Memphis in May is also North America's largest month-long international festival.

Recognized as the city's official festival, Memphis in May brings global guests from across the world and guests from every state in the United States to Memphis, Tennessee, the birthplace of the blues and the home of rock 'n roll.

Memphis in May International Festival was founded in 1977 to encourage downtown redevelopment and champion civic pride and celebration. Today, its mission remains to promote and celebrate Memphis culture, foster economic growth, and enhance international understanding through education. Each year the festival honors a different country.

Through the years, Memphis in May has played host to ambassadors, cultural exhibits, and performance troupes from 32 countries, including its first honoree, Japan, in 1977 and the most recent country of honor, The Philippines, in 2012. The festival develops and produces nearly 80 programs and events focusing on culture, the arts, entertainment, education, and commerce. The cultural programs are produced in conjunction with the city's major museums and public spaces, including The National Civil Rights Museum, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Brooks Museum, Dixon Galleries and Gardens, Mud Island River Museum, and the University of Memphis, just to name a few of our community partners.

The large outdoor public events include the Beale Street Music Festival, showcasing Memphis' musical heritage and influence; the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, a culinary attraction that celebrates Memphis' claim as the Barbecue Capital of the World; and the Sunset Symphony and finale celebration at the end of May. Memphis in May outdoor events occur on the banks of the Mississippi River in a municipal area, Tom Lee Park.

To insure cultural growth in the area, the festival produces an extensive education program for all public, private, parochial, and home-school students in the Mid-South that includes a Curriculum Guide on the honored country, a student exchange program, and classroom and student competitions. This program has been recognized by the International Festival & Events Association four times since 2000 as the Best Festival Education Program in the World.

Memphis in May International Festival, Inc., operates all events and programs from a $6.0 million expense budget with revenues budgeted at $6.19 million. While it receives remark able government support and recognition, the organization receives no government funding of any type. Memphis in May is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization operating under the direction of a 19-member, culturally-diverse, and civic-minded board of directors, with a year-round professional staff of 14. Memphis in May is largely supported by 20 active volunteer committees representing 1,069 individuals who collectively offer 24,539 hours of service representing a $140,000 sayings to Memphis in May International Festival, Inc. Thus, the festival has been honored four times since 2000 as having the world's best volunteer program, according to the International Festival & Events Association.

Some of the international acclaim enjoyed by Memphis in May International Festival has been noted. But, it is also important to note that the festival has received nearly 100 awards in the last ten years from the International Festival & Events Association, including Best Education Program in the World, Best Volunteer Program in the World, and numerous awards for creativity and programming. Memphis in May's annual programs reach nearly 500,000 persons, representing all 50 states and a dozen or more foreign countries. These people have been touched by the heritage and history of Memphis, the cultural diversity of a foreign land, the educational programs offered, and the doors opened for the potential of commercial change.

The 2011 Memphis in May festival events generated an economic impact of $76,506,384 supporting 939 jobs, according to findings prepared by Jeff Wallace, Ph.D., and Jay Walker of the Sparks Bureau of Business and Economic Research, Fogelman College of Business & Economics, the University of Memphis.

The study also found the estimated impact on city revenues to be $27,442,398, mostly realized through local and state taxes. According to the report, "Event survey" and ticket data revealed that over 120,000 of the attendees came from more than fifty miles away from the greater Memphis area. If the festival attracted area residents only, there would be no additional economic impact just a redistribution of existing money to different industries."

While Memphis in May contributes to the economic health of the city of Memphis each year, it is important to note that the festival receives no funding from the city, or from any taxing authority. The city of Memphis has, however, traditionally offered supportive services to the festival. Funds to support the festival come from revenues generated by the events, including admission revenue, as well as sponsor and donor programs. Calvin Anderson, 2012 Chairman of Memphis in May, comments: "Memphis in May pays its own way with the City from the rental of Tom Lee Park, to paying for police overtime at the events, through the Office of Code Enforcement for street closing of Riverside Drive, for utilities and other services. We recognize that the City of Memphis is grateful for the economic benefits of Memphis in May and perhaps equally pleased that no City or County funds are sought to run these world class events."

President and CEO of Memphis in May International Festival James L. Holt concludes: "The sizeable economic impact and revenue boost from our Festival events are a part of our mission to foster not only cultural understanding through education, but also foster economic growth for our area. We are proud that even with historic flooding and adverse weather conditions in 2011, the economic results are impressive and real ."

Bringing the World to Memphis and Memphis to the World that is Memphis in May International Festival!

by Diane McCraw Hampton, Executive Vice President, Memphis in May International Festival

Diane McCraw Hampton is Executive Vice President of Memphis in May International Festival, North America's largest month-long international festival. Hampton joined Memphis in May in 1999 as Director of Marketing. Her responsibilities include media relations, marketing, sponsorships, and advertising. In addition to her experience with Memphis in May, Hampton has been a radio talk show host, a broadcast marketing executive, and a radio and television producer. She is a graduate of University of Tennessee at Martin where she earned degrees in Marketing and Communications.

Since her involvement in Memphis in May, the festival has earned over 100 awards from the International Festivals & Events Association for creative design, programming, and innovative events. She has also received numerous awards from the Memphis Advertising Federation, the American Advertising Federation, and the Tennessee Broadcasters Association. She has served on numerous community boards and organizations, was named a 1000 Points of Light recipient by former President George Bush, and designated by former President Bill Clinton as one of the Community Visionaries. Most recently Hampton was named one of "50 Women Who Make a Difference in Memphis."

Through Memphis in May, Hampton has consulted with numerous television programs produced for The Food Network, HGTV, Discovery Channel, A&E, NBC, CBS and ABC, and others.

She is married to Dr. Leonard Hampton, and they have two children.
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Author:Hampton, Diane McCraw
Publication:Business Perspectives
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:1215
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