Springtime in Memphis means barbecue and hot-wing festivals. Beginning this year, autumn in Memphis means hamburgers. Twenty-two teams took part in the first Best Memphis Burger Fest Sunday on the parking lot of Minglewood Hall.
Seth Agranov, who founded the event, a fundraiser for Mid-South Spay & Neuter Services, with Tim James, estimated about 1,500 people attended the event. Seth described the festival as "a win for the Memphis food community. There were restaurants out there, caterers out there, barbecue teams and backyard grilling teams that love to cook burgers."
Light rain fell as people strolled by "Nacho Daddy's Burger," "Meat in the Middle," "Meatier Shower" and other booths. "What a great crowd for an awful, nasty, rainy day," said Amie Cunningham.
Instead of a bun, the hamburger at the "Beef Street Flippaz" team manned by Andrew Magdovitz, Marissa Moss and Adam Exelbierd had cheese pizza on the top and bottom.
"Well done," said Kooky Canuck owner Shawn Danko to those who participated in a hamburger-eating contest. Each two-member team had to eat a 7-1/2 pound medium-well-done Kookamonga cheeseburger in 10 minutes. Since there was a tie, a 5-minute "eat off" was held.
Some people opted to buy pizza from Jeremy Denno's Rock 'n' Dough food truck, but Jeremy said his "bacon cheeseburger pizza" was "the one that's been selling the most."
Around 4 p.m., "I Like Burgers and I Cannot Lie" was announced as the Best Memphis Burger Fest grand champion winner.
Luv-Ly Time Was had by all
Humans danced by the light of the moon, glow sticks, lasers and fire at the first Luvglo party and run Saturday night at Shelby Farms Park. They carried LED-lit balloons and twirled inside LED Hula Hoops.
Adrian Berryhill, aka deejay Radio B, played electronic music as race participants and friends covered each other with fluorescent paint and dined on cuisine from food trucks before the 11 p.m. race began.
More than 350 runners in the 3.1-mile race had to contend with hay bales lit with glow sticks, lasers shooting through trees and small fires. They had to climb through a "spider web" made of fluorescent rope, climb over a glow-in-the-dark wall, crawl through a glow-stick-lit tunnel and slide down a 100-foot water slide lit with black lights before diving into a water pit that contained fluorescent reactive tracing dye.
"It's EPA approved," said event organizer Mark Horrocks. "I drank a swig of it to make sure it was OK."
More deejays played music during the run. "People actually stopped and danced," Mark said.
Mark and his wife, Mylissa, are the founders of Habitat for Hope, the beneficiary of the proceeds raised at Luvglo as well as the LuvMud races held during the day Saturday and Sunday. Instead of water, runners jumped in mud at the LuvMud races.
Dolf Kumfert came in first place in Luvglo with a time of 20 minutes and 50.8 seconds. Andrew Spragins came in second with a time of 20 minutes and 50.9 seconds. Andrew was first-place winner in Saturday's LuvMud race with a time of 22 minutes and 59.1 seconds.
Asked what it was like jumping in the water pit, both guys said almost in unison, "Refreshing."
Kirsten Hagen was the first woman to place in Luv glo. Her time was 24 minutes and 30.1 seconds. She also was the first woman to place in LuvMud with a time of 24 minutes and 7.6 seconds.
Murphy's rocks for Gonerfest
Artist Mary Long was at the Gonerfest 9 Afternoon Blowout at Murphy's Saturday afternoon.
"I'm taking a break from the studio," she said. "I need to get my punk on for a while."
The annual Murphy's event, which features cheeseburgers, beer and indoor and outdoor stages, is held during day two of the three-day Gonerfest, which features performers around the world at various Memphis venues.
Eric Friedl, Goner Records co-owner, said about 1,000 attended the Murphy's party. Among the guests was former Memphian Brett "Shaggy" Duffee. Shaggy, who is chef de cuisine at Bayona restaurant in New Orleans, played drums in his band, Persuaders, Saturday night at the Hi-Tone.
'The fonz' speaks
Henry Winkler, who played "The Fonz" on the old "Happy Days" TV series, was guest speaker at Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab's recent 85th anniversary celebration at Baron Hirsch Synagogue. Instead of a leather jacket and jeans, Henry wore a suit and tie.
In addition to acting, Henry also is a producer, director and author. With Lin Oliver he wrote a series of children's novels titled "Hank Zipzer: The World's Greatest Under Achiever." Recently, he began a new series, "Ghost Buddy #1: Zero to Hero."
His charitable work includes the Cerebral Palsy Telethon, Epilepsy Foundation of America and Special Olympics.
George Klein was master of ceremonies. Mary Ann Kaplan is Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab executive director, and Geri Lansky is president.