Next to the mighty Mississippi River I saw Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, and Jerry Lee Lewis. Be ready for the hot southern sun. Each year the festival concentrates on a different country and culture. In 2003 the focus was on Korea, marking the centenary of the first Korean immigrants to America. The last night annually sees the Sunset Symphony, when the Memphis Symphony Orchestra serenades the end-of-festival crowds with famous favorite melodies.
Take a stroll down Front Street overlooking Riverside Drive near dusk and see the incredible sunsets on the Mississippi River. There is a walkway on the bluff, and many locals use it as a place to run or walk their dogs as well. Riding in a trolley will take you right by the river, but to really enjoy the view, I think it is better to walk around. There are even benches located along the way to sit and relax, while watching the barges float by and the sun cascading across the sky. It is one of my favo(u)rite views of the city.
If you look in the opposite direction of the newest Memphis bridge, named the Hernando Desoto Bridge completed in 1973, which connects Tennessee and Arkansas over the Mississippi River, you will see the old bridge that does the same, which by the way, is named the Memphis Arkansas Bridge, and opened in 1949.
I can remember the new bridge being built as a child, as I used to come to the river to watch the barges with my Dad, and he would tell me about the catfish in the Mississippi River being BIG enough to have me for dinner. This is a true story, as there are monsters (catfish) weighing probably 200 - 300 lbs. or more in the Mighty Mississippi, and they will eat ANYTHING, dead or alive. The world's record catfish that has been caught was around 125 lbs. Of course, that record could be broken any day. I believe there are even bigger fish lurking in the muddy Mississippi that couldn't possible be caught, but only the river knows the truth about the monster fish tales. For a look at a few of these monsters (catfish) click on the following link, or copy/paste to your browser. HUGE Catfish
The head alone is nearly three times the size of a man's head, and some of these catfish are nearly 6 ft. in length. The old bridge is hardly noticeable in this photograph, because I was concentrating on the sunset, but a piece of it is visible in the left corner if you click on the photo. It is nothing spectacular to look at, although, interesting, because trains travel across next to it, and although not as modern or spectacular, it is still an alternative to crossing the Mississippi River.
I had been complaining that the skies were just too blue for an exceptional sunset photo opportunity in Memphis, so when I looked up, and saw the sun peeking through the clouds, just before a storm, I headed for the river to finally get some decent shots. I had thought I might get wet in the process, but was delighted with the results of my effort. It did rain later that evening though.
All of these photos were taken on the same day, and I had to wait some time in the shade for the sun to hide behind the clouds, because it was nearly blinding when I first arrived at the scene. Elsewhere in the city, it appeared to be dark and gloomy, as it can be raining in one area, and sunshine a few miles away at times. Of course, other times it is pouring all over the place. Typical, unpredictable Memphis weather.
Memphis lies on the banks of the biggest river of Northern America: the Mississippi. Just take a short walk from the downtown area to the stream. Or cross the river and take a look at the skyline of Memphis from the other side. By the way, by crossing the river you enter Arkansas. The Mississippi forms the border between Tennessee and Arkansas.
Take a Ride The Duck tour. This tour takes you both around downtown Memphis as well as on the river. The captains are more than tour guides, they are funny too! It's like being in a parade!