Tom Lee Park evacuated for 45 minutes during 1st day of World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest

Local News

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( – Severe weather caused a brief delay Wednesday at the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

Organizers with Memphis in May evacuated the park for about 45 minutes while the weather event was taking place. Robert Griffin, VP of Marketing for Memphis in May says the decision was made because there was lightning in the area.

Local 24 News cameras caught folks waiting outside of Tom Lee Park for the gates to reopen.  There are storm shelters nearby the park at Front and Union and at MLGW for any people who need it.

Griffin says because lightning can travel large distances, Memphis in May organizers did not want to put any lives at risk and that’s why they evacuated the park. The good news is Wednesday night is friends and family night. There’s no competition, so fortunately it didn’t hold back any teams progress.

“We don’t expect any other issues for the remainder of the week. This was the one night that we thought there might be a chance, and sure enough it showed up, but we want to be careful with people’s lives at stake,” said Roger Griffin, VP of Marketing with Memphis in May International Festival.

“We just got down here a little late because we got off work late, but at the same time I don’t understand why they held us up because it really didn’t thunder anytime since we’ve been down here,” said Brent Baker with Team Baking Care of Business.

Tickets are still available at the door. General admission is $12.

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