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Cirque du CMOM

A Wild West Roundup

Story by Emily Adams Keplinger | Photos by Nicole Robbins

In the true spirit of the Wild West, costumed guests donned their best fancy duds, Stetsons and boots to attend “Saddle Up! Deep in the Heart of Memphis.” The annual Cirque du CMOM party was a fundraiser for the Children’s Museum of Memphis. Chairmen for this year’s event were Emily Banks and Carol Stout, and IBERIABANK was back in the saddle as title sponsor.

Even though the weather was rainy and cold, the crowd attending the gala was heating things up with The Mustache Band, a 90s Country Party Band. The group crooned hit after hit, while party-goers did their boot-scooting best to kick up their heels. It was clear that the crowd loved the western theme. Folks were comfortable “getting their cowboy on” as they made their way through the museum to sidle up to watering holes sponsored by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of Tennessee, 10 full service bars which included 2 bars that featured a myriad of spirits and Topo Chico Sparkling Mineral Water and 2 Fireball shot bars.

Guests were offered a photo op by Cathy Wood, owner of Phancy Photo Booth. With all of her cowboy-themed props, cutout mustaches on a stick and a variety of comical signs, Wood was good for her word to “make the party Phun.” Another source of entertainment came from singing duo Grant Vogelfanger and Marla Morris, who stationed themselves in chairs on a platform high above the crowd as they sang country cover songs.

At the King Ranch, the VIP room for IBERIABANK guests, Michel Leny of Cafe Society served up bacon-wrapped shrimp with a horseradish sauce and teriyaki-marinated beef tenderloin kabobs. Elsewhere in the museum, Hog Wild offered pulled pork sliders and Lyfe Kitchen plated chicken tostadas served with a spicy libation called a Smoky Rita. Taziki’s served spicy pimento cheese, as well as pasta, and Babalu dished up barbecue and grits. Itta Beena offered bite-sized cucumber BLT’s and Char provided their signature pork rinds.

VIP Lounge sponsor White Door Events provided all the western decorations, with interior designer Elizabeth Malmo taking the reins as Decorations Chairman, along with Elizabeth Hutton. VIP Lounge food was provided by SDC Catering and Tin Roof. Gill Properties was the presenting sponsor of the ride-em-if-you-dare mechanical bull.

Kendra Scott was on hand to add to the festivities with a Mystery Jewelry Pull. For $50 donations, guests could select mystery boxes containing earrings, necklaces or bracelets that were valued between $50 and $195. As part of their community support, Kendra Scott contributed 100 percent of its proceeds from the evening to CMOM.

Richard C. Hackett, chief executive officer of the Children’s Museum of Memphis, said, ”We thank our team of approximately 150 volunteers who helped with this year’s fundraiser. Proceeds from the event will support the educational programs and exhibits at The Children’s Museum of Memphis.”


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