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The To-Do List: Country Blues Fest, Greek Fest and Cooper-Young Beerfest
The Orpheum’s “Come From Away” tells the story of airplane passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland, due to the 9/11 attacks. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy)

The Orpheum’s “Come From Away” tells the story of airplane passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland, due to the 9/11 attacks. (Courtesy Matthew Murphy)

Welcome back to The To-Do List, where Daily Memphian staffers highlight can’t-miss events and fun activities heading into the weekend. 

If you’re looking for a festival to attend, there’s probably one that’s to your liking happening in Memphis this weekend. Broadway is back, planes are flying and there’s championship-level rugby, too.

“Come from Away” at The Orpheum Theatre, Thursday - Sunday:

If you want to feel better about life, humanity, and the world in general, “Come from Away” just may be the ticket for you. The engaging show brings Broadway back to the Orpheum Theatre, 576 days after it left, with a heartwarming story about the 7,000 “plane people” who were diverted to a small town in Newfoundland after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. During the several days they were stranded in Canada, the travelers, who came from all parts of the globe, made friends, found love, laughed, suffered losses and were embraced by the residents of the area’s small towns. And, yes, it’s a true story. Thursday through Sunday, $25-$100, various times. Go here for more info.Mary Cashiola


Country Blues Fest at Levitt Shell, Thursday and Friday:

This two-night festival evokes the classic country blues festivals at the Shell in the 1960s. Thursday night, a ticketed event, boasts a strong trio of modern, regional blues aces in Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Cedric Burnside and Alvin Youngblood Hart. Friday night presents local blues stalwart Blind Mississippi Morris as part of the Shell’s free fall concert series. Additionally, Rhodes College is hosting a three-day symposium on the history of the Memphis Country Blues Festivals, Wednesday-Friday, registration required. Tickets for Thursday’s show are $35. Both concerts begin at 7 p.m. 


Anthony Williams (right) grilled pork kebabs lamb chops as volunteers hurried to finish preparations for the 2019 annual Greek Festival. (Jim Weber/Daily Memphian)

Greek Fest at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, Friday and Saturday:

Come for the koulouria, stay for the kourambiethes. If you don’t know what any of that means, Jennifer Biggs’ recent story on the return of the popular Greek Fest — back in “Mikro” form — can upgrade your vocab in the realm of delicious pastries. Jennifer also talked with Kathy Zambelis, one of the festival’s organizers, this week on her “Sound Bites” podcast. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. $3 for ages 6 and up. 573 N. Highland. See here for more info


Jason Isbell of Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit played the Forecastle Music Festival in Louisville, Kentucky in 2018. (Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP file)

Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit at Graceland Live, Friday:

Isbell grew up in Alabama, got his start at small local clubs as a University of Memphis student and is now perhaps the crown prince of left-of-center Nashville, his songwriter-driven roots-rock a different version of “The Nashville Sound,” a phrase Isbell reclaimed for a recent album title. As a solo artist or during his three-album stint in the band the Drive-By Truckers, Isbell has played Memphis stages from the long-gone Map Room (now a North Main shoe store) to Beale Street Music Fest to the Germantown Performing Arts Centre. Isbell checks a new one off his Memphis list this week at Graceland Live. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Showtime 8 p.m. Tickets $69.50-$125. See here for more info.


Cooper-Young Beerfest at 795 S. Cooper St., Saturday:

October is for beer, and more than 30 local and regional breweries are scheduled to participate in this year’s Cooper-Young Beerfest, a fundraiser for the Cooper-Young Community Association. A ticket gets you a mug and all you can drink, with additional nourishment from food trucks and DJs from nearby Goner Records (music as food for the soul, natch). The location is across the street from neighborhood brewery Memphis Made. 1-5 p.m. $50 (designated drivers admitted for free). See here for more info.


Lester Goldsmith (left) received help from Al Robinson (right) as they prepared his Ringmaster airplane for flight on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at Audubon Park. (Mark Weber/The Daily Memphian)

Worldwide Ringmaster Fly-a-Thon at Audubon Park, Saturday:

Fans of line-control model airplanes will gather Saturday at Audubon Park for the Annual Worldwide Ringmaster Fly-a-Thon. The original Ringmaster was designed in 1950, and fans of engine-powered model airplanes have been building and flying them ever since. The first Ringmaster took advantage of post-war engine design and had a 42-inch wingspan, but there are now about 20 variations of that model. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. To read more about last year’s event, go here. — Beth Gooch

Premier Rugby Sevens Championship at AutoZone Park, Saturday:

AutoZone Park branches into its third sport this weekend, as the inaugural Premier Rugby Sevens Championship brings some of the country’s best rugby players, including Olympians, to Memphis. Sevens are a variation on standard rugby with fewer players on each team (yes, seven) and shorter matches. The action begins at 9 a.m., and after a whole day of rugby, the men’s and women’s trophies will be presented just before 5 p.m. $15-$115. See here for additional info. — Mary Cashiola


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