Cooper-Young Fest Returns this Weekend 

The annual event takes place Saturday, September 14th, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

It's finally that time of year again, a time when one of Memphis' largest celebrations occurs.

"When they started the first Cooper-Young Festival back in 1988, there were 25 vendors, and it was more like a bake sale than anything," says Tamara Cook, executive director of the Cooper-Young Business Association (CYBA). "And I believe Joyce Cobb was the headliner that year."

This year, the arts and crafts festival will host more than 435 artisans and a number of up-and-coming musical acts, including Robenx, Marcella & Her Lovers, and CMajor.

click to enlarge Cooper-Young Festival - COOPER-YOUNG BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
  • Cooper-Young Business Association
  • Cooper-Young Festival

"It's going to be rocking," says Cook.

In 2010, Cooper-Young Festival attendance hit 100,000, and to help address some of the overcrowding, some transportation services and commute options have been established.

"Five years ago, we started doing a shuttle service," says Cook. "And three years ago, we started the bike corral. Last year, Innovate Memphis did a really good job. They babysat around 300 bikes."

Beyond giving local artists, businesses, and organizations exposure, Cooper-Young Fest has enabled the CYBA to use the proceeds to fund an estimated $700,000 in restorations to the neighborhood. Some of the long list of completed projects include restoring the gazebo (or bandstand) at the corner of Cooper and Young, adding crosswalks in front of Celtic Crossing and First Congregational Church, and giving back to nonprofit organizations, including House of Mews and OUTMemphis, in the area. There are plans to begin safety projects, which include the installation of six skycop cameras and a handful of reduced speed limit signs.

Cooper-Young Festival, Cooper St. and Young Ave., Saturday, September 14th, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., free.

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