Memphis in May Attempts to Break a Record 

You hear? Memphis turned 200 this year (doesn’t look a day over 129), and it’s time to celebrate.

Enter Memphis in May’s Celebrate Memphis, a day-long event, doing just that with fireworks, plenty of live music with local acts, cornhole, a drone show, and an attempt at a Guinness World Record.

  • Firat Gürbüzer |

They are looking to blow up the previous record for the World’s Longest Picnic Table. Robert Griffin, director of marketing for Memphis in May, notes that the table will use some 18,000-plus yards of wood and 53 pounds of nuts, bolts, and washers.
We recently asked Griffin for more deets on the picnic.

How did the picnic idea come about?
We wanted something big, unique, and symbolic for a 200th birthday celebration, and the idea of everyone being invited to Tom Lee Park for this community picnic piqued the curiosity of our Vice President of Programming, Susan Elliott, and she researched the requirements for building the World’s Longest Picnic Table that will allow all the communities of Memphis to come together around one table to share a meal. We loved the symbolism of that, and apparently so has the city because the response to it has been tremendous!

How is the table going to be set up? Will it circle around, double back?
Originally, we wanted a U or J shape so if you were on one side and your friends were on the other, you wouldn’t have to walk all the way to the end to get to the other side! Unfortunately, Guinness regulations require that it be in a straight line, modeled after a commercially-available design, so it looks like a standard table with bench seating — only four football fields long!

What will the food situation be?
Guests are invited to bring their own sack lunches, coolers or picnic baskets (subject to security check, of course), or purchase food from local concessionaires in the park. One of the Guinness requirements is that people must be picnicking at the same time at the table for it to qualify, so we’ll be making an announcement around 5:15 to get everyone to the table by 5:30 so our record-setting table will fulfill the people requirements for certification.

What makes the perfect Memphis picnic?
That’s very subjective, but if it’s mine, it has pulled pork (with slaw for the sandwiches), baked beans, potato salad, deviled eggs, and either a lemon icebox pie or simply sliced strawberries and vanilla ice cream for dessert.

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